By Janet McAfee

I heard someone say, “Merry is the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen!  She has such beautiful fluffy ears and is such a happy girl!”.  I’m not sure why I’m still here at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus shelter. I saw some of the other dogs happily leave their kennels for forever homes and I hope it’s my turn soon.  Most of the people who visit admire me but then walk away to look at the small size fluffy pups.

On November 21, 2023, I was running down the street and picked up by an animal control officer.  He put me inside a truck, and It was a short ride to a large county building, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus shelter in Thousand Palms.  There were so many dogs barking inside there, and I didn’t know what would happen next.  They took my photo and then walked me into a large kennel.  The days passed and I hoped my family would arrive to get me but they never did.  I don’t know if they know what happened to me, but I get a little sad missing them sometimes.

I have a large indoor/outdoor kennel that I share with another big dog.  A nice woman named Cheryl took me in a private little room to take my photo with a Christmas background.  She said more dogs are adopted during the holiday season and she was sure that would happen for a wonderful dog like me. I imagined waking up Christmas morning like I did when I had a family.  I would get a bone for a present and I nibbled on bites of turkey when I sat under the table.


Some of the big dogs get stressed when they are here a long time, but I’m still a happy girl with hope in my heart. I believe the right person will come for me.  I smile and wag my tail at every visitor while my kennel mate and I compete for their attention.

My favorite thing to do is to go outside and be part of the big dog playgroup in an adjoining fenced in park.  There is a group of us big dogs and we romp and play in the sunshine.  We chase each other and hang out with the staff and volunteers.  My favorite volunteer comes every week and we go for fun walks.  She helped me to walk well on a leash.  I love being around humans, including the little ones.

Come meet me at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, open 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday.  I’m a Shepherd blend, 1-yr-old and 50 pounds of doggie love.  Ask a staff person to take me (dog ID A17700613) to a private visiting area so you can see my wonderful personality.  I might greet you with a kiss.  Valentines Day will be here soon, and maybe you will fall in love with me.


In 2023, there was a dramatic increase in dogs coming into public shelters in most parts of the country.  The crisis is worse for big dogs in the Coachella Valley where many of our residents are retired seniors who want a little dog they can take in an airplane cabin. In the shrinking rental market, landlords can choose tenants without pets.  During the pandemic, spaying and neutering were not considered essential services and some veterinary clinics were closed or on reduced hours due to staff shortages.  The puppies and kittens born then are now giving birth to more animals and there is a shortage of loving homes.

There are many advantages to having a big dog.  They are very protective and provide security. Big dogs require more exercise and they make great hiking companions.  They usually reserve their energy for romping in the backyard and trips to the dog park, becoming calm and happy to lay by your feet indoors.  Another plus is that they are very intelligent, quick to train, and almost never have an accident inside your house.

Meet your new best friend at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, 72-050 Pet Land Place in Thousand Palms.  Again, visiting hours are 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday.  Take the Bob Hope exit from the 10 freeway.  Call (951) 358-7387 with any questions or go to the website  The shelter has some lovely private outdoor visiting areas and indoor visiting rooms in case it rains.  This allows you to find out if you are a “match”.

Merry would make an excellent second or third dog in a home.  When I first met her I realized there was something very special about Merry.  She is engaging, wise beyond her years, and very “Merry”.  A beautiful dog is waiting and will bring happiness to the lucky people who adopt her.