Making a perfect match
By K.C. Baker
Jude Lassow-Sunden would make a great therapist.
As the head of Muffin’s Pet Connection, a pet listing service that finds homes for dogs and cats, she has spent hours advising pet owners on the verge of giving their pets away.
"We end up doing pet counseling, bereavement counseling and lots of times, marriage and family counseling," said Lassow-Sunden. "We’re good listeners."
Picture of Jude, Norm and Scooter taken February 2000.
What’s unique about Muffin’s Pet Connection is that it allows the owners to hang onto their pet until the Sunden’s find them a good home. Once a suitable, screened candidate is found, the owners meet the prospective parents so they can decide whether it’s a good match.
"People have told us they can sleep better knowing their cat or dog is in a good home," said Lassow-Sunden, whose service has placed over 5,600 cats and dogs since 1988. Listing a pet costs $20 for one month, $10 for an additional month. Most pets find homes in a few weeks.
Most of the 75 calls the Sunden's get each day are from people who have to give their pets away because of asthma, a new landlord or a divorce.
The Sunden's end up listing a fraction of those pets. They spend most of their time suggesting solutions, such as spaying and neutering or training that enables owners to keep the pets.
Lassow-Sunden said she will never forget the woman who wanted to find a home for her 18 yr. old nearly blind, diabetic cat because her companion didn’t get along with the feline.
She told the woman she could list the cat through her service by putting the cat’s picture on the organization’s Web site (www.muffins.org), placing ads and including the feline’s picture on citywide flyers. But she didn’t think there would be any takers.
Instead, she suggested that the woman simply let the cat live out her twilight years at home by in a her own room, away from her feline-hating companion.
"She started to cry," Sunden-Lassow said. "She said she never thought of that."
But sometimes even the Sunden's have no answers. She recalls how one man recently called begging her to find a home for his unruly 3 year old Rottweiler.
"If you have a snarling 125-pound dog that the owner is afraid of, there’s not much I can do," she said. If this dog had been trained properly and spayed at 6 months, these problems wouldn’t be occurring."
Over the years, Lassow-Sunden has learned that some problems end up solving themselves. A few years ago, the couple placed an aggressive Shepherd mix with a man who needed a watchdog. Not long after, the man called to say he couldn’t keep him because the dog turned into a mush ball.
"He told me he used to wrestle alligators," she said. "Taming this dog was nothing."
Muffin’s Pet Connection can be reached