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Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,

When I arrived at the shelter on Sunday, I thought I knew exactly which dogs I was going to feature this week. Then in the wag of a tail, two of them were adopted! I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of Foxi’s new family, but I did catch Duchess’. Here they were as they were leaving. They didn’t bat an eye that this sweet gal is nine years old. We are always so thankful for adopters of our seniors!





When you’ve been around a shelter for a while, you notice that some dogs arrive and are whisked off to a new family after just a few days. But others, who may have some challenges and need a special person to love them, wait and wait for that person to find them. This post is about five dogs who have been waiting for new homes a long time. On Sunday, Marianne, Megan, Caroline and I spent some quality time with two of them.


I’m ready to fill your life with attention and love!

Alaska is a one-year-old Shepherd mix who is an absolute beauty!



She arrived at WHS in late September. She was adopted once, but returned when it was not the right family fit. Alaska is an active young girl who loves to run and play. We took her out to the big yard and had a blast. She listened closely as Megan explained the game of fetch. However, Alaska has not quite caught on that she is supposed to bring the ball back to you.


Alaska is looking for a family who will be understanding and patient. She really wants to be with you, and as long as you are nearby, she is happy to entertain herself with toys. She is uneasy around strangers and can be sensitive about being touched, especially on her sides. Because of this, she is recommended for kids thirteen and older who will read her body language when she is uncomfortable. While she has never lived with other dogs, she has done well in our playgroups, but would need to meet any dog she will be living with. She will need a secure yard and won’t be the kind of dog who can be left alone outside all day. She would really love to be in a home where someone is there most of the time. She also will need a little help on house-training. Alaska thrives on reward-based training and WHS offers such support to her new family as part of her adoption package. She will make a terrific hiking/jogging partner. In fact, any outdoor activity you are interested in, so is she. She loved our time together outside.


After our romp in the yard, we relaxed in Mary’s Place.


Then it was time to return to her kennel.


We’re hoping this sweet girl will soon find her perfect home.




Martha keeps writing about me…but I’m still here waiting.

I’ve featured Dani twice before in blog posts. So here goes number three. Maybe, just maybe, the perfect person will happen to read my blog this week. Dani is a three-year-old mixed-breed girl who looks adorable and is waiting for the right family to take her home.



Dani came to us in August from another shelter having been found as a stray. Dani is nervous around other dogs and some strangers, although she warms up quickly to people. She will need to be the only pet in the home. She was adopted, but because she can be nippy when she wants attention, she will need to be with kids fifteen and older. Her former family loved her, said she is a “very sweet affectionate dog. Walks on the leash just fine. Perfectly potty trained. Great dog.” But because of her nipping and having younger kids, they felt they had to return her. For the right dog-savvy family, Dani will be a joy. She is very active and loves to play fetch and would enjoy jogging or hiking with her person. We took her into Mary’s place on Sunday and she so enjoyed having our attention as she collected toys. Oh, yes, I should mention that Dani LOVES collecting toys. She thinks there can NEVER be too many toys!


After she had most of the toys out and about, she was ready to settle in for some couch play time with Megan and Caroline.


To read more about Dani and see her in action outside, check out my August 28th and October 2nd blog posts.




Adventures for some long-termers!

Thanks to some devoted volunteers, our long-term dogs don’t just sit around waiting for their new families. They go off on happy excursions that give them a break from the stress of shelter life. This week I am happy to report three other long-termers who each recently had an excellent adventure.


Delilah’s Delightful Day

Delilah is a one-year-old Shepherd mix with an expressive face who adores playing fetch, jumping into pools, and people. She is rated for children thirteen and older and needs to be the only pet. She was found as a stray and first came to WHS last August.


Delilah was adopted in September, but was returned to the shelter because she and the other resident dog did not get along. Her people were heartbroken to have to return her. She was eager to please, listened well, and was a quick learner regarding house rules and routines. She also was a big snuggler. Her former family wrote, “We absolutely adore her and wish she could stay.”

Volunteers Linda and Jolene took Delilah on an outing to Bush Park. Here is their report:

“We took a trip to Bush Park with Delilah to just get a break from shelter life. We walked past joggers, bikes, squirrels and a couple of dogs. She was fun to take and well-behaved. But all those distractions were competing against a lot of new smells.”


Delilah stressed at the shelter and her kennel presentation is not good, so potential adopters do not see what a nice girl she can be. We’re hoping someone will read this post and decide to spend some time getting to know her. While Delilah isn’t right for every home, for someone who wants a single dog who will love them unconditionally and completely, she would be a perfect fit.




Travels with Toby!

Toby is a two-year-old mixed-breed boy. He was surrendered to WHS in July when his family decided they didn’t have time for him anymore. He was an outdoor dog and really wants to be an indoor/outdoor dog now. Toby is a sensitive guy and he’s hoping for some understanding and patient people to adopt him. 



Heidi, a volunteer and big fan of Toby’s, has taken him on several adventures in the last few weeks. Here is her report:

“I’ve taken Toby on a few outings lately and really love this sweet, sensitive pup. Toby can still be a little scared of unfamiliar people and things (like joggers in the park or waves at the beach) so he probably would not like big crowds. I found it necessary to use a dog seatbelt for Toby while in the car because he was so scared of being left alone and wants to be as close to you as possible. Toby is well behaved; he walks nicely on a leash and if he ever pulls or doddles, it is easy to get him back on track with a treat ~ he is VERY treat-motivated which makes training pretty fun. Even though he is cautious of new environments, he does like to explore new sights and smells, as long as he can do that while staying close to you. Toby loves to lean against you for pets (and sometimes slides down to the ground for belly rubs). He is young so he has a playful energy, but then can be such a cuddle bug. Toby just wants to love & be loved.


Toby will need to be an only pet in a home with older teens. It takes him a little time to feel at ease with new people and he is shy at first, but once he feels comfortable, he is a big goof who is affectionate and clownish. In his ideal home, Toby would love to have someone there most of the time, as he can be anxious when left alone. He is an active dog who would love to go on hikes or jogs with his person. He’s the kind of boy who can be energetic and eager for action, but then settle down and just enjoy lounging with his person.




Swayze Dayze Adventure #2

I’ve written about Swayze several times, but still he waits for his right fit of a family. Swayze is a ten-month-old pup, looking for a puppy-savvy family who has the time, energy and patience, using positive reward-based training, to continue to teach him the skills he needs.



Volunteers Marianne and Ayla love taking Swayze places. Last week Swayze had another wonderful adventure with them. Here is Marianne’s report:

“Another fantastic outing to Cascade Gateway Park with Swayze who loves exploring and sniffing. He liked wearing his snazzy blue coat—I think fall is his season (he even rolled in the leaves). What a well-behaved boy who is fantastic on leash and riding in the car. When we returned to the shelter, he cuddled in Mary’s Place and played with toys. He’s a very affectionate boy who loves people. What a wonderful companion he will make for some lucky family who can give him structure and consistency. Ayla and I absolutely adore him.”


Swayze came to us on June 3rd, a transfer from an over-crowded California shelter, where he had not received any training. After being returned several times, Swayze is now enrolled in our behavior training program. With some time and effort, Swayze will grow up to be a wonderful family companion. He is being shown by our training department. Please submit your adoption questionnaire and allow them to contact you for an appointment to meet him. You can fill out an application here. To read more about Swayze and see additional pictures of him, see last week’s blog post.





In Memory of two very special shelter dogs…

“I think the reason we are so deeply affected by the absence of a beloved pet is because our lives were so profoundly touched by their presence.” —Tracy Crandall, WHS Board President



Joseph arrived at WHS on December 3, 2013. He had been rescued in California by a friend of our shelter after having lived 24/7 on a chain his whole life. We guessed he was about five years old. Here he was with volunteer Emelynn soon after he came.


This is what I wrote about him in my January 29, 2014 post:

“From the moment he arrived at WHS, Joseph was a favorite of everyone. His gentle, happy personality and his eager love for human interaction despite what his life had always been was amazing. I found myself spending extra time with him whenever I could. On Sunday, after finishing taking pictures of new arrivals, I decided to visit him in his kennel. This was his greeting when I arrived.

He was overjoyed when he realized I was going to come into his kennel with him. He spent the next few minutes throwing himself into his blanket with glee.”


And here was a cartoon I made to try to get him adopted.


And “the best home ever” we DID find him! The family read about him in my blog and came to meet him. They took him home on January 26, 2014.



Last week I got this news from Joseph’s family:

“We said goodbye to our lovely Joseph yesterday afternoon. Age was getting the best of him, so we gently sent him to the angels to frolic & run free. He had become almost puppy-like with our boys, and it was so amazing for all of us to see what love and inclusion can do for humans and animals alike. We miss him terribly, but there are two of our boys struggling more than the others with having to let him go.”



Joseph will always hold a place in my heart, as well. What a precious gift his family gave him for the second half of his life.




King arrived at the shelter October 17, 2018 from our sister shelter in Maui. He was about eleven years old, in failing health and so became a hospice adoption. We all fell hard for this big teddy bear, especially Marianne.



She even took him as her date to Bowser’s Boo Bash that year.


A wonderful, loving family adopted King and he joined two other rescue dogs in their home.


Last week the family sent me this sad news:

“I wanted to give you an update on King, since he was such a celebrity and everyone just loved him. We said goodbye to our big boy today. We knew when we adopted him, our time would be limited, but we were lucky enough to get a whole year with him. He was the best, most wonderful loving boy, and brought joy to everyone who saw and met him (even cats). We were SO blessed to be the people to spend his last bit of time with. We are so grateful he came into our lives. Thank you to the Willamette Humane Society for receiving him, loving him, and for helping us to adopt him.”


King was a very special dog who spent his last year in the best home he could have.


Personal note: I am going to be gone next week, so my next post will be on November 20.



All of the dogs I have featured today, along with other terrific dogs waiting to be adopted, can be found at Willamette Humane Society. Here is the link to the adoptable-dog page:


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  adoptanoregondog14@yahoo.com