Stray Story: “Gunther”

Update:  Within a few hours of this post, several local rescue groups stepped up and Gunther is being transported to the SPCA of Southwest Michigan on 3/31/16.

Like so many dogs that find themselves in the care of Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE) and other stray animal shelters all over the world, how they came to be there is often a mystery.  Was it dumped?  Did it run away?  Did it escape an abusive home or is it lost from a loving family?  Most potential adopters will speculate based on the way the dog acts or behaves.  Dogs that cower at men must have been beaten by a man.  Dogs that dislike children were abused by a child or children.  Dogs that hesitate or refuse to walk on stairs must have been thrown down stairs at some point in its life.  None of these statements are based on any facts, but they help potential adopters connect with the animal they’ve chosen.  These assumptions help intensify the “rescuer-rescued” bond they form with their new pet and are ultimately the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and happy relationship.

guntherGunther, a stray Mastiff mix at KCASE is just such a stray.  She turned up about a year ago in the City of Kalamazoo. Scared and skittish, she refused to come to anyone.  Finally she found a family with a large open barn that they kept open just for her, worried that something bad could happen to her.  They provided her food and a safe place to sleep if she needed, but month after month were no closer to securing her than they were the first day they noticed her.

The family called local rescue groups and were told that they couldn’t help.  She was a stray, and local rescues cannot take in stray dogs.  She was unable to be contained and had an unknown temperament.  She didn’t seem to trust people and she wasn’t ready to be caught.

Finally, after the plight of Gunther was brought to the attention of KCASE.  Officer Shellie Simpson, a 12-year veteran at KCASE, brought out a live-animal trap to hopefully lure the dog.  For several weeks the dog eluded Simpson and the trap, finding a way to retrieve the food inside the trap without setting off the mechanism that would have closed the trap door behind the dog.

Frustrated, but unwilling to give up on the dog, Simpson found a way to dangle the food inside the trap leaving the dog no other choice but to fully enter the cage if she wanted the free meal.  The plan worked, and finally the dog, who survived the winter without a home, was brought indoors for the first time since her ordeal began.2016-03-29 16.16.24

Named “Gunther”, the dog is a female large-breed brindle and white mix.  She had clearly been hit by a car recently and limps, with an injury to one of her back legs.  She was seen by a veterinarian who was able to clean up the wound, however Gunther may need continued vet care.  Her ears had been cropped and she’s thin, but she is very sweet and the staff at KCASE love her.  She visits the front office regularly and the shelter is currently looking for a rescue group that can spend more time preparing her for a new forever home after she is recovered from her time as a homeless dog and is ready for placement.

Gunther is just one of countless stray stories coming out of KCASE every day.  We’ll never know what happened that led her to where she is today, but KCASE is doing everything they can to find her a rescue group willing to take her in.  KCASE is committed to finding every adoptable pet a home and KCASE Director Steve Lawrence tells us that she is highly adoptable, but needs a rescue to help her overcome her medical hurdles before she should be placed in a forever home.

If you can help, please contact KCASE at 269-383-8775.  You can also view other dogs available for adoption at KCASE by visiting them at PetFinder at






  1. We adopted her from the SPCA last Saturday. She has been an awesome addition to our family and we are so glad to be able to give her a loving home. We couldn’t ask for a better behaved dog!


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