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Darlin' Clementine

Laura Beil

Tri-City Tales Issue No. 1

Introducing the Friends of Tri-City Animal Shelter's newest feature, Tri-City Tales! This feature will highlight stories of animals who have come in and out of the Tri-City Animal Shelter. Please read, enjoy and share freely!

This month's feature is about Clementine, an award-winning firehouse dog who changed many lives for the better.

Clementine was three years old and the kind of dog shelter workers call a “long stay.” She had waited almost four months at an adoption center in Terrebone Parish in Louisiana, hoping for an adoption that never came.

Then in August of 2021, Hurricane Ida formed and threatened the Gulf Coast. Clementine had to be evacuated. An ASPCA transport brought her and 15 other dogs to the Tri-City Animal Shelter that August. At first, her fortunes improved. She was adopted a month later, in September. The family brought her back after eleven days.

Clementine is a hound mix; hounds are bred to chase. But the other, smaller pets in the household did not appreciate the extra exercise. Another family took Clementine home a month later. They returned her: “Too rambunctious.” Clementine loves people. Really, really loves people. When left alone, she suffers from separation anxiety, which in dogs can translate into destructive behavior. After two failed tries at adoption, Clementine’s future seemed dim. Clementine never did find a home. She found a house- a firehouse, that is.

On October 27, 2021, Capt. Robert Moree of the Cedar Hill Fire Department stopped by the shelter, looking for an adult dog to help with stress relief for his crew. He met Clementine, saw her brown eyes and floppy ears, and took her to the station that evening to be a live-in therapy dog. Today, she’s become an expert fire dog. She likes to ride in the cab of the fire engine when the trucks are deployed. She howls with the sirens. The station crew and Cedar Hill Parks Department even built her a special fenced play area, and put a dog bed in the firefighter dormitory. But mostly, she’s curled up in the lap of one of her two dozen new owners, all 75 pounds of her. She’s never anxious about being alone. Because she never is.

On October 12, Clementine and Capt Moree boarded a flight to New York City, where she was named ASPCA Dog of the Year, honored for her public service to the Cedar Hill Fire Department. After months of being the dog no one wanted, Clementine now spends her days with professional rescuers. And every day, she returns the favor.

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