Hi, I’m Rayne, and I’ve been in a shelter for SEVEN years

My name is Rayne. I have been living in animal shelters for seven years now, and I’d like to tell you my story in case maybe you are the person who finally takes me home. 

I wasn’t always homeless. When I was young I lived in a house with a man. I actually lived in the backyard. At one point the man stopped coming out to see me, and then it rained. A lot. I had to get on top of my doghouse to get out of the flood. I perched there on that pointed roof and waited, hoping he would come back. He never did come back but a nice person came and took me out of the flood. (I heard later on that he was in the hospital for three weeks. That explains why I was so hungry).

I went to a shelter and was lucky to get a foster home and get out of the shelter. My foster parents had to go out of town for the holidays, so they boarded me in a kennel. At the kennel a scary dog ripped my left jowl off through the kennel grate. That’s why I have the lopsided smile you see below- I’m missing part of my face. It was really scary but I healed ok. After that I developed some problems with other dogs, so things didn’t work out with my foster family who had dogs of their own. I ended up at The Barking Lot, a shelter in San Diego. That was six (or seven?) years ago, and it’s where I still live today.

I have met a lot of people over the years, but nobody wants me. I don’t understand why.

I’m ten years old now, and I wonder, will I ever have a warm bed to sleep in?

I have some nice friends at the shelter. They take me for walks, and sometimes I even get to go hiking. This is how I look at my nice friends, and how they look at me. I really love them. And they all love me. Nobody understands why I don’t have a home yet.

I’m a good sport about everything. If you want me to get on a table, just pat it and say “up”! I also know “sit”, “lie down”, “shake”, and “stay”.

I’m really curious about the world. When I’m outside, all I want to do is sniff and explore. I pull and pull on my leash, hoping my friend at the end will go my way. I heard them talking about something called a ‘no-pull harness’. I guess it would be easier to walk me with one cause I’m pretty strong. I don’t think I walk bad. I’ve just never been shown another way.

When I walk I move low to the ground, so I don’t miss any interesting smells when out exploring. There are so many things to smell!

This is Tami, one of my friends at the shelter. She says I give ‘good soft puppy kisses’. I’m also gentle when taking treats.

I think maybe people look at me funny because I’m different looking. Is it bad to be different?

One of my favorite things is to have my butt scratched. I also have white tips on my feet, which my friends say is part of the Rhodesian Ridgeback in me. (I’m also American Staffordshire Bullterrier, which is why I’m kind of short and stocky).

Sometimes when I’m sleeping my tongue hangs out.

My friends sometimes put funny things on me. But I don’t mind as long as they are giving me attention. I’m very easygoing.


Does Santa have any more room for one more reindeer?

Even though I’m ten years old and greying a little, I can still look like a puppy.

Merry Christmas!

Will I spend Christmas with you?

Another thing I love to do is roll around in the grass! But what I love so much more is rolling around in a warm, soft bed. Will your bed be the one I get to sleep in?

My friends call me a ‘senior’, because I’m ten years old. But I still love to run! I have what they call ‘spunk’. I guess they think I’m calm and mellow most of the time, but can run and hike whenever they want to go. I can hike for three miles!

You can never give me too many snuggles. Belly rubs are my favorite. OK, actually, water is my favorite. Chomping on water coming out of hoses is my very very favorite. But I love butt scratches, belly rubs, snuggles, treats, running and playing and exploring too.

My mouth is perfect for whistling. Will you teach me how to whistle? My collar looks like this at the moment, but I don’t mind if you want to buy me a new one. What color will it be? I get excited when I think my friend is pulling out a toy just for me, and I make my “is it a toy for ME?” face. I don’t get very many toys. Will you give me a new toy?

I am so lucky that I get to go hiking sometimes with my friends!

I love snuggling in the mornings. I got to do this a few mornings over the past six years.

This is where I’ve been living for six years, and where I live now.

My only Christmas wish is that I find a forever home.  I’ve been waiting for so long.

Will it be you?


Age: 10 years old next month. (Happy almost birthday!)

Weight: 60 pounds (approx). Medium size.

Breed: Staffordshire Bullterrier + Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rayne has the Ridgeback’s initial aloofness upon meeting, but is very loving and loyal once she trusts you and you form a bond, and she has the affectionateness, goofy nature and energy of a Staffordshire Bullterrier. The best of all worlds.

Location:  San Diego California

Shelter: The Barking Lot

Health: No known health issues and no dietary restrictions. Gets the very occasional ear infection but that’s it. Food motivated.

General Temperament: She has a nice balance between fun & playful, and sweet & snuggly. She has spurts of energy where she loves to play, romp around excited, or go on walks and hikes. But at the same time, she’s also ideal for snuggling on the couch to watch a movie. She can be a spaz [in a goofy way] when she gets to play with a hose. She LOVES playing with water/hoses.

Behavior with other dogs: Rayne is is dog-selective, but not uncontrollably dog-aggressive unless she’s put in a bad situation. As volunteer Sara puts it: “Rayne is very dominant so she isn’t a good pal for the vast majority of dogs. I would recommend that she be the only dog in the house. She is fine on walks and hikes. She won’t pay much attention to other dogs, but if they get too close to her and give her a chance, it may not turn out so well. She tends to hump straight out when we do a proper intro. She has had a couple of playmates before. It would need to be male and very submissive. We had her fostered for a short time with a volunteer that has many dogs. She kept her separated from the others with just a baby gate and she said Rayne was fine with that. But again, I’d say that Rayne being the only dog in the house is best. She also won’t be a dog-park dog and the beach would be risky. She is fine going out around town or hikes though!”

Behavior with cats: No cats for Rayne.

Behavior with humans including men and children: Rayne is great with all people! She has been around all types of people from children to seniors and she doesn’t discriminate. One important thing to note is that she can sometimes be reactive toward toddlers and kids if they run by screaming, or doing anything sudden or loud. She may startle and bark. She has never shown aggression toward humans, but she may be happiest in an adult-only home. 

Special/Unique characteristics: Her most unique feature is her signature lopsided smile. While it doesn’t have the greatest back story, it does make her unique and she does rock it. “Aside from that I would say her best thing is what a lot of dogs have – resilience. She has been through a lot and has spent so long waiting for a home, yet she is still so loving and happy.”

What makes Rayne happiest: Water! She LOVES water. “Bring out a hose and she will go to town playing. If you stop playing she will stand there and bark at you because she is never ready for it to be over. She also likes to play with toys. Tug-of-war is her favorite but she can also play fetch. She isn’t great at dropping it on return, but she can learn. She loves scratches – her butt mainly- but she also loves a good belly rub down. IF you spent some time rubbing her and loving her she is quick to return the favor and will give lots of kisses. She loves to roll around a anything cushiony – bed, couch, car. Basically I would say the best thing about Rayne is she lives life to the fullest. She seems to enjoy every moment out and about and with her human friends. Can’t say enough good things about her. We love her. 

Photographer Jamie’s notes: “I only worked with Rayne for about an hour, but she reminds me SO much of my dog Fergie, who is also a Ridgeback mix. When I met Rayne, she did the same thing my girl Fergie did when I first met her- gave me a cursory glance and then walked right past me to sniff whatever she found interesting. It took Rayne about 15-20 minutes to really acknowledge me during our photo shoot, and that was after I started giving her delicious treats. At the end of our hour working together she gave me soft gentle kisses on my face, and anytime I pet her or scratched her she ate it up. I fell in love with her during our shoot. She also pulls hard on her leash, something I am used to with my own girl. She needs lessons on how to ‘heel’ as well as a no-pull harness, which can be purchased at any pet store and makes all the difference in the world with a strong and curious puller (trust me on this). If Rayne is anything like Fergie, it takes awhile for you to be in her ‘inner circle’, but when you are, she will be fiercely loyal and love you unconditionally. It’s also important to note that Rayne is a totally different dog when she is outdoors vs indoors. Outside she is aloof with people, and just wants to explore everything with her nose to the ground. She is very curious about the world. Inside she is a love-bug and can’t get enough cuddles.

It’s my belief that the reasons why she has been passed over so many times over so many years are:

1) She seems aloof when meeting new people/prospective adopters. She meets potential adopters outside her kennel at the shelter, which means she is often more interested in what there is to smell out there. It’s hard for us people not to take that personally. We expect or at least want to bond immediately with an animal we plan on spending our lives with. But it’s important to remember that some animals, especially those who have been abandoned repeatedly, need time, trust, patience and a lot of love to truly learn that you are there for them always.
2) She has trust and dominance issues with other dogs, and issues with cats, so needs to go to a ‘no-other-pets’ household. So far all of the people who have fallen in love with Rayne (including me), have dogs of their own. She just needs that one person who doesn’t currently have any pets.
3) She pulls hard on her leash, which a prospective adopter would learn pretty quickly when taking her out for a ‘test-run’ walk. Of course we all want a dog who ‘walks nicely on a leash’. To that I say- dogs can learn. No matter their age. Rayne just needs the opportunity to learn. (And a new harness to help her get there).
4) The last reason why it’s possible that prospective adopters have passed over Rayne is that they don’t want a dog that has all of these ‘issues’ and is disfigured (this last part is just conjecture because she truly is super adorable).

My dog Fergie has all of these issues, and did when I first met her at her shelter- points that caused me some concern and made me second-guess whether or not I should be her forever home. I somehow knew that despite the lack of immediate connection, Fergie was my dog, so I took her home. It took my girl Fergie a few months to warm up to me, and really trust me. Her sensitivity made her guarded, not because she didn’t care, but because she cared so much. I suspect the same is true with Rayne, a girl who just needs a little bit of time to trust that you won’t be one of the many people who have left her. My dog Fergie and I ended up developing an unbreakable bond, and she is the hands-down the best thing that has ever happened to meI strongly believe Rayne will be this for someone too.

Knowing what I know about her breed mix, her background and her temperament, I personally think her ideal house is an individual or couple, who don’t have kids or other pets, who want to love Rayne as if she is their own child. Who want to take her on outside adventures and also have snuggly movie nights at home.

But at this point she isn’t selective. She just wants to be safe and happy and loved. And it goes without saying that this needs to be a forever home. She deserves at least that. 🙂


Are you interested in adopting Rayne? Or do you live in Southern California, don’t currently have any dogs or cats, and would like to foster Rayne until she finds her forever home?

Awesome! Here is all of the information you need to make that happen:

Rayne’s Petfinder page: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/20868373

Rayne’s adoption application: http://thebarkinglot.net/adopt

Detailed information on the adoption process: http://thebarkinglot.net/adoption-faqs

***Note- Rayne can be adopted anywhere in the U.S., provided a home-check can be done by a member of a fellow rescue. ALL members of the home must be present during the home check- both humans and animals.***


Let’s get Rayne the forever home she has been waiting most of her life for and make her Christmas wish come true!!

2 thoughts on “Hi, I’m Rayne, and I’ve been in a shelter for SEVEN years

  1. Rayner u are a sweetie and u deserve your. Own family that will give u lots if love And be their furbaby forever. . I would take u in a heart of beat but i don’t own my own home. …

  2. Rayne, you are amazing! I wish you could come live with me but I am afraid Smokey, the cat, is in charge of the house. Please, take care. I’m sure a very lucky person will soon adopt you.❤

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