Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
I’m beginning this week’s post with a very special shelter dog story.
WHS Alumnus, Dallas, earns Trick Dog Champion Title!
Dallas arrived at WHS on October 11, 2013 in a transfer from an overcrowded California shelter. He was described as a one-year-old Dalmatian/Australian Shepherd mix. He was a happy-go-lucky boy with poor kennel presentation, little knowledge of basic commands, patchy fur, and house-training issues. From the moment I met him, jumping up and down in his kennel, I worried about who would adopt this energetic, “bull in a china shop” dog. And though he could be a challenge to harness and take out for his walk, he found a special place in my heart.
Karla Krieg started volunteering at WHS the same month I did and has often fostered dogs with “issues.” It wasn’t long before Dallas went home with Karla for her to assess exactly what all of his problems were. I talked with Karla frequently about Dallas’ progress and gently asked if Karla, herself, might adopt him, as she did not have a dog at that time. Her answer was always a quick and firm “no.” Dallas was not her kind of dog. But secretly, I kept hoping that Dallas would win Karla over. And after almost three months, he did. On February 13, 2014, Karla drove to the shelter to adopt a dog she had been sure she would never want. She named him Wilbur.
In Karla’s own words:
“Wilbur (Dallas) was my foster failure. The plan certainly wasn’t to adopt, but I worried about Wilbur’s future. When I went to pick him up, I thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m taking this home.’ He was a live wire and surviving kennel entry and harnessing him was a challenge. At home he was a 100-mile-an-hour whirlwind, with little education or impulse control. He was also not house trained. And he wasn’t a classic beauty either. A disarray of black and gray splotches against his pink skin and white hair obscured his facial features. ‘Dallas, who is going to adopt and love you?’ I asked. But he was entertaining, endearing and his attitude was ‘The glass is full!’ After more than two months of trying not to adopt him, I gave in.
“Now named Wilbur, after the pig in Charlotte’s Web, he remains much of who he was except he’s been ‘home schooled.’ A doer, Wilbur needed a job, a way of not being bored. So we worked on skills together.”
And work, they did. Recently they completed training for Wilbur to earn his Trick Dog Champion certificate! Once he mastered all of the required skills, I videoed his performance to submit to the Do More With Your Dog national organization. As Karla says, “The video is a testament to positive-based training. Applied with an understanding of its underlying principles and concepts, almost anything is possible. And most importantly, positive training makes for a happy dog!”
After submitting this video, we waited anxiously to see if the two of them would pass. Well, Karla and I waited anxiously, Wilbur was oblivious. He was happy as long as he could spend time with Karla and work for treats. Last week I returned to Karla’s for pictures so I could share their success with you.
We had an amazing dog adoption week with twenty-four going to their new homes! Included was our long-termer, Girlie! Here are all the Blog Dogs who have new families.
I was lucky to be at the shelter when both Noel and Pixie went home with their peeps.
Need a buddy? Well, that’s my name!
Look at this face. Did you smile? Buddy is a twelve-year-old Lab mix who is looking for a relaxed, adult (teenagers are fine) retirement home where you and he can play some fetch, go for some walks, then stretch out on the couch and nap. He is house-trained (of course, has been for years), knows basic commands, and loves to be with people. Being a senior, he can have issues with some dogs, so should be the only pet in the home. If you’re looking for an uncomplicated, easy-going new best friend, you may have found your buddy! Here he is with Caitlin who has become one of his many shelter fans.
Yes, I’m another senior. Yes, I, too, am in search of a retirement home.
From the moment I met Mabel, I was smitten. She arrived recently from another Oregon shelter where she was not adopted. Mabel is at least seven years old and is an American Staffordshire Terrier mix.
I wrote about her in last week’s post, but she is still waiting for someone who enjoys the company of old souls, so we decided to spend some time with her in the Ed Hall and show you just what a couch potato she is! She isn’t much interested in getting up to play with toys, as you’ll see. Mabel wants a home where she can spend her time snoozing next to her person, going for relaxing strolls, and hanging out with her peeps. She walks slowly and we’re not sure how much she can hear anymore, but she loves to cuddle and is a happy gem of a gal.
Here she is with volunteer Brendan on Sunday afternoon.
I’m new and I’m staying in a foster home right now, but you can still adopt me!
Meet beautiful Felina, a one-year-old Shepherd mix. She was very nervous when she arrived and staff decided she’d do best away from the shelter, so she is spending some time in a foster home. But I got to meet her before she left, and in the quiet environment of the Ed Hall, even though she still looked uneasy, she relaxed enough to pose for some pictures. Felina knows several commands (sit, down, shake), is food-motivated, and a quick learner. Because she is shy, she’ll need slow introductions, and a patient and understanding family. Here she was with Caroline on Sunday. She is a sweet dog with terrific potential to be a wonderful family member.
Spent some time in the Ed Hall Sunday. I like it in there!
Axel is still at the shelter, but doesn’t seem to be stressing out about it. He continues to be his usual goofy self, loving his outings and attention from his many fans, like Marianne.Axel is a three-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix. He is an active boy who loves to play with any toy he has (as you can see in these pictures!). But after some energetic exercise, Axel loves nothing more than relaxing with his peeps, toy stuffed in his mouth. He is house-trained and knows basic commands. He is a good listener and loves to learn. He’d be great in a family with older (10+) kids, but wants to be the only pet.
I’m a playful pup and I can’t wait to find my new family!
Hadley is a seven-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who is a happy, exuberant youngster who can’t wait to meet his new family. This boy is smart, eager and excited to learn new things, have adventures, and explore the world with his people. He will need a family without small animals, as he thinks it’s fun to chase them. And while he loves children, he’ll need to go home with older kids who will be conscientious about not letting him run loose where he can get into chasing trouble in the neighborhood. Hadley will never be an off-leash kind of dog. But if you’re looking for an affectionate, devoted friend who will love to play and then plop down with you and relax, Hadley may be your perfect fit. Here he was on Sunday with Laslo.
We have one update, and it’s about a dog I didn’t get the chance to meet. Lucy, a senior girl at nine years old, arrived at WHS in January, very shy and unsure. She went very quickly into the loving foster arms of volunteer Krystal who gave Lucy the time and security she needed to be adopted. Her new family is over the moon in love with Lucy. Here is their update:
“Lucy is doing wonderfully. She was accepted by my other Chihuahuas with kisses the moment she walked in the door. I think they were so happy to finally have another sibling. We lost 3 of their siblings in the last year and things just weren’t the same. When I saw Lucy on the website I just knew she was the one. She has brought joy and happiness back into our home and lives. I like to think of it as she rescued us, not the other way around. There was no adjustment period at all for her. She just walked in and it was like she’d been here all along. Words can’t express how thankful I am to have her, not only for my girls but for myself. She has brought light back into my days after so much grief. She is constantly wagging her tail. I think she knows she is finally home and won’t be going anywhere else. She snuggles with my girls and runs around playing with them, too. She’s like the puzzle piece that was missing. She is an absolute joy every single day. She’s spoiled rotten, of course, with lots of cuddles and kisses and car rides and extra goodies. She gets to go on a walk every day with her sisters. She’s getting the life she deserves and I can’t thank the Humane Society and her foster mom enough for allowing me to be this sweet girl’s mommy. Thank you so very much. We are truly blessed and she is very treasured.”
Lucy is the tan one. 🙂
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