‘He Loves Life’: Longtime DAWS Resident Zorro Looking For His Forever Home

Looking into adoptable dog Zorro’s sweet, chocolate-colored eyes, it is easy to see that his name is a perfect fit for him.

With dashing good looks and a resilient nature, he practically lives by the lyrics to The Mask of Zorro‘s song, “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You,” with lyrics that say, “I want to spend my lifetime loving you. If that is all in life I ever do.”

Zorro the dog is on the search for his forever home with someone who he can love the rest of his life and live happily ever after with.

Currently, Zorro holds the title of the longest resident at Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS), which is located at 147 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel.

DAWS Volunteer Jennifer Balbes shared that he arrived at DAWS on April 25, 2019.

“We don’t know if he was a surrender or a stray, but he did come from a high kill shelter in Kentucky,” she said. “We have a partnership with a few shelters in the south, and we have a network that we are part of that transports the dogs from high kill shelters … That’s how he came to us.”

Today, he is four years old, neutered, up-to-date on all his shots, and 70 pounds now fully grown.

He is referred to as a German shepherd mix and knows commands including sit, lay down, give paw, and high five.

“If he knows that there is a treat, he’ll sit before you even ask him to sometimes. He learns very quickly. He’s very intelligent,” Balbes said. “He’s very motivated, so if you have a treat he will become your friend.”

Zorro has had applications and interest from potential adopters, but none have been the right fit for his special needs.

The DAWS website lists that Zorro’s owner requirements are that they must be an:

*Experienced dog owner

*Adult-only home with no kids or future children

*Must be the only pet in the home

*Has to have an understanding of positive reinforcement training

*House with a 6 foot tall fenced yard

*Willing to slowly introduce Zorro to people close to the family and educate them on Zorro’s do’s & don’ts

*Come and meet Zorro multiple times

When Zorro first came to DAWS, he had many struggles to overcome, and these conditions are in place to give the best life for Zorro and his family.

“Every day, every week he is changing and getting better and better,” Balbes said. “Our only experience with him is in the shelter, along with kennel stress and everything that goes with it … these are just things we have to be really cautious about as things stand now.”

‘Really Good Dog’

Zorro’s time at DAWS has allowed him to make many human friends and gain positive experiences that have steadily helped improve his behavior.

He has a team of about half a dozen volunteers that work with him closely on his training, as well as his enrichment, which includes taking him for daily walks, special hikes at nature preserves, and day trips to their home — all of which he enjoys.

“Zorro has gotten a lot of help and attention,” Balbes said. “It has really helped him to get more comfortable and less reactive.”

She says that he is practically a different dog than the one who first came to the shelter.

Balbes and the members at DAWS who work with Zorro feel that he will continue to improve once he is in a home and settled in.

“We want to emphasize that he is not a scary dog ​​… he really is resilient and adoptable. It’s so amazing considering what he has lived through,” Balbes said. “He loves life even though he has lived in a small kennel most of his life. He loves cuddling, he loves affection, he loves toys, he loves running around. He’s up for an adventure at any time. He’s a really good dog.”

Since DAWS’ shelter in Bethel is currently undergoing renovations, the dogs and cats who were unable to get adopted or find foster homes are now temporarily in Newtown.

Balbes explained, “We are renting space at Mt Pleasant Animal Hospital and Pleasant Paws Pet Center. We have a number of dogs located at Mt Pleasant in the kennels there with our staff taking care of them and Zorro is one of them.”

While there was originally concern that the move could later Zorro’s progress, it proved just how much he has continued to persevere.

“We were concerned it would cause more stress for him and he might regress, but surprisingly and positively he has been doing pretty well. I think it was a little hard for him at the beginning, but he has displayed such resiliency. He is doing really well, even though his only home was in the [DAWS] shelter for three years,” Balbes said.

Ultimately, even though he is doing well in his new surroundings, DAWS really hopes to find his forever home soon.

People who are interested in adopting Zorro should first complete the online application and e-mail the Dog Committee Chairperson at dogs@DAWS.org. Then, if the person fits the requirements, they will have the opportunity to meet Zorro in person.

Zorro’s adoption fee is 50% off and is only $175 instead of $350.

Balbes noted, “He’s also part of Pets for Patriots. It’s an organization that helps veterans with adopting pets — it could be veterans that need a comfort, therapy, or service dog or a companion pet. They have a program within the organization called Forget Me Not and the dogs that are listed on that part of their website are dogs that are long timers in shelters.”

Zorro is part of that program and his adoption fee is $100 for veterans with Pets for Patriots.

“The Pets for Patriots organization also provides other helpful benefits for vet members,” she added.

For those who want to help Zorro but cannot adopt him, they can sponsor him through the DAWS website.

“It’s very helpful,” Balbes said. “We also have a foster to adopt option, so that people can see if it’s the right fit.”

For more information about DAWS and to learn more about the adoptable dogs and cats, visit daws.org.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Zorro loves toys as well as dog treats, which can be used for his training. He already knows commands such as sit, lay down, give paw, and high five. He is adoptable through DAWS. —photos courtesy Jennifer Balbes

Adoptable dog Zorro is currently the longest resident at Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS) and looking for his forever home.

Zorro is a 4-year-old affectionate German shepherd mix who loves to cuddle and go for walks, hikes, and rides in the car.

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