Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
I’m starting out this post with a happily-ever-after story about one of my all-time favorite shelter dogs. On Monday, volunteer Linda and I met Tanner and his person, Karen, near Riverfront Park for lunch and a walk. The weather was cool and sunny, and we had a wonderful visit.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the story…
On September 14, 2012, a nine-month-old Lab/American Staffordshire mix pup named Rockstar arrived at WHS, a transfer from a California shelter. He had had no training and was a very energetic youngster with no manners. But what tugged at all of our hearts, making us so sad, were his ears which had been cut off earlier in his puppy life. Rockstar was not house-trained, jumped all over people in his excitement to greet them, and loved everyone he met, including people, dogs, cats, you name it. He instantly became one of my favorites. I loved to take him out to the big yard to run and pose for pictures so I could write about him.
Volunteer Richard was a big fan.
At times, I got a bit carried away.
I wrote about him every week in my blog posts. He got adopted twice, but both times he was returned. At that point, Linda decided she would make him her project dog and teach him manners so that he would have a better chance to be adopted successfully. She spent lots of time with him, and Rockstar soon fell totally in love with her.
Rockstar LOVED all dogs, big and little, and I made many cartoons about him.
Then one February day in 2013 I had lunch with my friend, Karen, a former WHS employee, and mentioned how worried I was about Rockstar ever finding the right home. Little did I know that Karen, who normally adopted senior dogs, had been thinking about adopting a younger one. By the end of our lunch, Karen had decided to meet Rockstar. She began by fostering him to make sure he would fit in with the many animals (horses, chickens, cats, dogs) on the farm. As we suspected, Rockstar loved them all, including the baby chicks. So in March, Karen and her husband changed his name to Tanner and completed the adoption, which, of course, he wanted to announce himself.
He sometimes came back for playgroup visits.
And what a life this boy has lived! Karen has had him in agility classes, he earned his Canine Good Citizenship Certificate, he has gone camping in the mountains, at the beach, and he has been a big brother to many foster dogs. He has also been a wonderful breed ambassador for “Pit Bull” type dogs just by being himself.
Fast forward to Monday. Tanner is getting a little gray around his muzzle, but is still the happy, eager boy. As always, he was excited to see me and over the moon to see Linda. Here are some pictures of our special afternoon together.
Who would have guessed in September of 2012, that a rowdy, untrained youngster with chopped-off ears would be so loved by so many people?
I’m always thrilled when I am able to take the going-home pictures of our dogs. Last Sunday I got to take two.
First was our sweet Roxie. She was quite nervous when leaving, but her new peeps were so excited to take her home.
And the next day I got this email:
“Good morning. Roxie is doing amazing. Still kind of curious about her surroundings. But oh dang, is she a snuggle bug. All last night snuggled, didn’t want to be left alone. Wanted to be petted if I didn’t pet her, Roxie would put her paw on me.”
This young girl was so excited to take Zeuss home. There was a comment on my WHS Adoption Facebook page from her teacher who said, “This beautiful girl is in my class and was so excited to get home to her dog ‘Hulk’ this afternoon.” He certainly fits his new name!
I’m new, from Hawaii, I notice it’s not as warm here!
Koa is a sixty-five pound, five-year-old mixed breed who just arrived last week from our sister shelter in Maui. Laura, our contact in Maui, had emailed me that we were going to love him and boy, was she right!
In Maui, they guessed that he is a Mountain Cur mix and had such good things to say about this boy: “Koa is just an all-around nice guy. He has polite kennel manners, no reactivity to dogs passing by, walks like a champ on a leash, eagerly sits for treats, and is very engaging with his humans. He could be the poster child for the ideal shelter dog!” His Maui playgroup notes read: “Koa loves to run and romp with a mixture of dogs. He doesn’t have lasting energy, just short bursts of joyous play, then it’s back to cruising around looking for love.” His Beach Buddy friends wrote: “We went on a really long hike. We didn’t run into other dogs, but he wanted to say hi to every person. He is well-behaved and a very good boy.” Koa spent some time in a foster home and they adored him, too, though noted he should probably not go home with cats. Koa was cuddly and loved to go for walks and runs, also liked naps and blankets. His favorite toy was a tennis ball.
Here is a picture that Maui sent along.
On Sunday we took Koa into Mary’s Place to get to know him ourselves and he was a joy. He posed for pictures and showed that he knows some commands like sit and down.
He immediately got up on the couch with Ayla and Marianne for some pets.
He was a very cooperative poser.
He loved my cheese bits and hoped for more.
Some family is going to be very lucky to adopt this guy!
I may need a little patience and understanding, but boy, am I worth it!
Sadie Mae is a three-year-old mixed breed girl who was surrendered when her family moved and couldn’t take her with them. We brought her into Mary’s Place to get acquainted with her and boy, were we in for entertainment! To say that Sadie likes cheese would be an understatement. Sadie LOVES cheese. Now, when many dogs see a treat, they will sit or lie down or put their paw up to shake, etc. But they don’t do everything at once.
However, the second Sadie realized I had cheese, she sat, laid down, rolled over, jumped up to spin, lifted her paw to shake, and then started the entire performance all over again! We were amazed! What a delightful little girl she is who will be a breeze to train in more skills—agility maybe? Sadie is house-trained and has a good history with children ten and older. There are a few things her new family will need to be aware of. Sadie is a bit shy and can be fearful. She does not like to be overhandled. She can be sensitive, especially about her back and tail. She needs to be in a home with respectful children who will give her space when she asks and not want to hug or force physical attention on her. Sadie also was a resource guarder from the other dog in her previous home, so that will have to be managed if she goes home to another dog. Sadie has no history with cats. Her former family reported that she didn’t like to be left alone, so a family in which someone was home most of the time would be good. Sadie Mae may have a few quirks, but what a fun girl she will be with the right family!
Sadie enjoyed hanging out with Linda.
Then they had a talk about how to wait politely for a cheese bit.
Sadie Mae is a keeper and we’re hoping her new peeps will adopt her soon!
I’m still here, but I got to go on an adventure with my friends!
I featured Sunny last week. She had a wonderful respite with volunteers Jolene and Linda, so here she is again. To review—Sunny is an eleven-month-old mixed breed girl. She can be reactive when she sees other dogs on leash, but once she is allowed to play with them, she has a blast. She is house-trained and a quick learner. She knows some basic commands like sit and down. Sunny’s love of cheese will make training sessions fun for both her and her new family. Because of her youthful exuberance, she is recommended for a family with older kids. And I just found out that she will be going to a foster home to give her a break from shelter life. So happy for her.
And here is Jolene’s report on Sunny’s fun afternoon.
“Sunny went on an outing today with her friends Jolene and Linda. First stop was the coffee stand for coffee and a dog treat. Then off to Geer Park where Sunny got to experience a lot of new things: people walking by, a bike rider racing by us, a man with a lawn mower in his back yard, several small dogs being walked, a scary little dog who appeared out of nowhere in his back yard and was not happy to see us, and a half-dozen kids riding bikes up the hill. Was a busy day at the park and Sunny did just great!
Sunny was very relaxed when we got back to the shelter. She rode very nicely in the car, and was a delight to spend time with away from the shelter. She’s a very affectionate dog once she feels comfortable with you and really responds to positive, reward-based training.”
I always feel lucky when I receive ONE update. This week I got THREE!
On a Sunday in January 2018, I snapped this picture of a couple spending time with their pre-adopted dog, Jester, waiting to take him home after he was neutered.
A few days later, Jasper became Seamus, and he joined two cats and a house chicken (Monster) along with his new peeps. I got an update the next week saying everyone was happily getting along.
This week, I got this new update:
“We have had Seamus a little over a year now and we couldn’t have asked for a better dog. I took Seamus to the beach for the first time and he absolutely loved it! Though, there isn’t much he doesn’t love. He is gentle and has the best smile. He loves and takes care of his siblings, too, and is always looking to make new friends.”
Riley was a real character while at WHS. She was playful, affectionate, and extremely athletic.
She was adopted once and returned after one day. But then in November 2018, a couple came and fell in love with this energetic girl and took her home. They sent an update a few weeks after adopting her, then this week I got another one:
“Riley is still doing very well. She is just the funnest girl to have. She goes most everywhere with us and loves playing with her many, many toys. She’s the biggest love bug and has just made Adam and me so happy. She snuggles in bed with us every night which can be a challenge lol (she likes to sprawl). She is best friends with Yoda, our one-and-half-year-old cat and tries very hard to be friends with my older almost nine-year-old cat but he just ignores her. We are so very happy we were able to add Riley to our family!”
If you are a regular reader of my posts, you will remember our sweet Grace. She was a transfer from our sister shelter in Maui and arrived last October. She had skin issues and we worried about who would adopt her. The weeks went by.
Then one day in December, her perfect person found her at last.
We gave her quite a sendoff.
And here is an update:
“Hi there! Just wanted you to know…Grace is doing awesome! She loves car rides and walks at Minto Brown and Bush Park..and Puppuccinos from Starbucks! We found out that she has Cushing’s disease but are starting treatment today so hopefully she will start feeling better. We are enjoying ‘Rescued U’ training class. I love this dog so much and she loves everyone she meets. She had the vet and vet techs wrapped around her paw. Thank you for caring for all the shelter animals so much! You do great work. Thanks to everyone who loves Grace so much both in Hawaii and Oregon.”
On those happy notes, that’s it for this week!
Remember, if you see a dog on my blog whom you are interested in meeting, try to make arrangements to get to the Willamette Humane Society soon. Some dogs are adopted more quickly than you might think.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org