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Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,

Last week I told you about what we at the shelter fondly and happily call a “foster failure.” This term refers to a person or family who agrees to foster a dog in need with absolutely no intention of keeping it. Then, over time, they fall in love with their foster dog and can’t bare to give it up…so they adopt. We love it when this happens. The dog is already settled in the home, the family knows exactly what they are taking on, and everyone lives happily ever after. Last week I told you about Nestle, who had been at the shelter for a long time, being adopted by his foster family. This week I have another one to tell you about, Darcy. Here she was with Ayla when she first arrived at the shelter. Darcy was a stray and uneasy around new people and places. We were so glad when she went to a foster home where it was quiet and calm and she could relax.


Last week her foster family decided they wanted her to stay. Think she looks at home here?



One sliver lining about the terrible COVID-19 pandemic is that so many people have been willing to foster a dog. Dogs who had been at the shelter for many weeks with little interest from potential adopters have gotten to become a family member. And sometimes they have become permanent members. I will tell you about another one in an update at the end of this post.



 The Adoption Process 

WHS is keeping people safe while continuing to match dogs and cats with their perfect fits of families. WHS is open for adoption appointments 10:00 – 3:00 every day.

To find out exactly how the adoption process works, click on the link below:

Adoptions Continue! But Your Patience Is Crucial




Need a dog who is always eager to play fetch? Who will be a blast to train? That would be ME!

Do you love making new friends? Well, so does Wally, a two-year-old mixed breed boy who can’t wait to find his forever home.

“Wally is a cheerful extrovert who loves everyone he meets!” says one of our WHS dog trainers about this happy, exuberant bundle of energy.

Wally came to us as a stray, so we don’t know anything about his past, but he must have been loved, as he craves snuggles and pets when he’s not jumping, playing, and rolling in the grass. He will lean against a person to encourage petting as long as the person is willing.

Wally is still very puppy-like and has been working with our trainer to “temper his infectious zest for life with a bit of polite social restraint.” So far he has learned how to sit when asked and gives his handler his attention on cue. He is even doing better at keeping all four feet on the ground despite his great enthusiasm for everything about life. Being treat-motivated and a quick learner make teaching Wally new skills fun for both the trainer and Wally. He is now working hard on polite leash-walking which is quite challenging when you are so anxious to meet and greet everyone.


Wally is dog-selective, meaning he gets along with some dogs, but not all. He will need to meet any dog he would be living with to see if it is a good match in temperament and play style. Wally’s high energy can be too much for some dogs, though he has taken correction well from an older female dog. He sometimes needs a handler’s assistance in learning to take play breaks. He needs to go to a cat-free home.

Wally LOVES all toys, especially tennis balls and soft, plush ones. “He will happily play with you or by himself as long as you are in the yard with him,” reports a staff member. She goes on, “He enjoys edible chews and easy food puzzles.” Wally enjoys playing fetch and is learning to trade the tennis ball for a treat when he returns it. Wally’s favorite of all games is following a scent trail. He will happily search for hidden treats and toys for as long as you are in the yard cheering for his successes.


What is the ideal home for Wally? This youngster needs to go to an active family with children about thirteen and older who have the time and commitment to continue the positive, reward-based training that he loves. Wally has great potential to grow into a well-behaved, devoted family member and he can’t wait to get started.

If Wally seems like a good fit for your family, click on the link “Ask About Wally” under his picture and fill out the Adoption Questionnaire. 




I’m looking for a special home with peeps who will understand my breed and love me!

Jesse is an Australian Cattle Dog mix and at two years old, he is eager, smart, curious, and a very quick learner.


A WHS staff member took him home overnight and had some very nice things to report. “Jesse was overall well-mannered. He did not jump up, did not bark for attention or beg for human food. Very affectionate. Rested quietly, played with toys, or solicited attention. Walked easily on a leash, some zigzagging and pauses to watch people or listen to sounds. Slightly nervous outside in unfamiliar places but could get him to keep walking by saying let’s go or calling him. Greeted my neighbor sitting on the porch and solicited attention, tail wagging. Knows sit and lie down. Soft mouth, you can take anything from him and he gives easily. Went to bed in bathroom at night, only one whine, was quiet all night. Very happy greeting in the morning. He was okay being touched everywhere if he was calm, doesn’t really like to be touched suddenly, but if you go slowly, he usually wants pets. He preferred me to be in the room when he was eating, or else would come check on me several times while eating.”


Australian Cattle dogs were bred to herd cattle and Jesse is no exception. And if there are no cattle around, well, any other animal, including small humans, will do. Because of his urge to herd, he will need to be an only pet and in an adult home with kids fifteen and older.

Jesse will do best with dog-savvy people who will help him in learning some behavior boundaries. He can be a bit pushy, though gentle, if he wants your attention. However, if ignored, he will eventually go off on his own. He is sometimes too enthusiastic when playing, becoming jumpy, mouthy, and nippy, so will need some positive training to learn more appropriate play behavior when he is excited.

If you like playing fetch, Jesse will be overjoyed. Here’s what one of our trainers observed: “Played fetch with Jesse in the big play yard. Amazing!  He will sit. He will wait until the ball is tossed. He will drop the ball at your feet. He will even place it gently in your outstretched hand. He walks well on leash (‘checks in’ with you often).  He can wait at the door. He seems to like SUVs.”

Jesse can be uneasy at first meetings, but quickly warms up to new people when given a little time and space. He becomes relaxed and wiggly and will lean into a person for petting. He likes to give a trusted friend quick licks. Jesse is house-trained and though he doesn’t really like to be left alone, when he is, he does not destroy anything or whine.

What is Jesse’s ideal home? He’d love to have an active person who will be around most of the time, someone who will take him on runs or hikes, who will play endless fetch, and who will continue to teach him new skills. Jesse is extremely smart and eager to learn. He will be a loyal, affectionate, and earnest best friend for the right person.

Here he is with Jessi, one of our WHS trainers and one of his biggest fans.

If Jesse sounds like the dog you have been waiting for, fill out the Adoption Questionnaire by clicking on the link “Ask About Jesse.”




I’ve learned so much in my foster home! I’m ready for the Real World! 

“If Barley’s ears and face don’t make you smile, his sweet, playful side likely will!” That’s how Barley’s foster mom begins her latest report.


Barley is an eight-month-old Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix youngster who is thriving with the positive-rewards-based training he is receiving in his foster home. When he arrived at WHS, Barley was a typical untrained and enthusiastic “teenager” who didn’t understand boundaries or polite interactions. His eager, puppyish lack of manners made him a perfect candidate for a dog-savvy foster with the time and patience to help him understand the behavior needed to be successful in a home. 

He loved being outside at WHS, playing with other dogs he liked.

What a difference a little time in his foster home has made! Here is the latest update from his foster mom. “Barley is doing great with structure and rules and is working on understanding the words ‘wait,’ ‘no,’ and ‘stay,’ as well as keeping all four paws on the ground when running up for greetings. He’s gotten consistent with ‘sit’ and lies down when I point to the ground. He goes into his kennel and just seems to chill in there without making a whole lot of noise or fuss. He’s getting to hang with two dogs his size and is not always sure how to play with them, but he is starting to warm up to them.”

Because Barley is young and enthusiastic, he is rated for teens 15 and older. He takes a little time to feel comfortable with other dogs, but has played successfully with some dogs in WHS playgroups. He will need to meet any dog he will be living with to make sure they match in play styles.

Barley is house-trained and will alert when he needs to go out. In his foster home, he has been excellent about chewing only on appropriate dog toys. He is continuing to work on polite leash-walking, not jumping, and not being mouthy. He is a very quick and eager learner and his foster mom reports he often self-corrects a behavior before she has to say anything to him. He does bark some when excited, but is easily distracted and stops. He jumps without hesitation into the foster’s truck for a ride.

Barley loves being around his humans and enjoys cuddles. He is very food- and affection-motivated. He will even try to get into your lap, if allowed, says his foster mom. “He’ll sit in my lap or want to be by me. I’ve been able to pet him all over his body including by his ears and paws. We wipe paws when it’s raining out. He didn’t care for this much at first, but now I put out food on the step, and he eats it while I wipe his paws and does fine.”



What would Barley’s ideal home be? He’d love a family who will continue the positive training he so eagerly enjoys in his foster home. He’d like a fenced yard where he could romp. He’d like his peeps to let him hang out with them a lot, as he really likes to be with his humans. 

“Barley really is a sweet boy,” says his foster mom. With continued training, Barley is going to be a wonderful family member.

Barley was on available on the WHS website earlier this week and the shelter got many applications that staff is going through. If none of them is the right fit, then Barley will be posted as available again. If he sounds like he is the right fit for your lifestyle, you can then fill out the Adoption Questionnaire by clicking on the link “Ask About Barley.”

Personal note: During this time when volunteers cannot visit the shelter, I am so grateful that WHS dog trainer, Jessi, has been taking wonderful pictures of our dogs for me to use in my blog.






Tyson is another very happy “foster failure.” Here is his story.

Tyson arrived at WHS on February 3rd and was very sad.

He had lived all of his eight years with the same family, but because of ear infections and skin allergies, the family could no longer afford to take care of him. At WHS, medication did the trick and his coat became healthy and sleek, though he will always need to be monitored to catch the allergies early. Tyson was quiet and depressed in his kennel and potential adopters walked by him, hardly noticing the shy dog curled up on his bed. Though Tyson took a little while to warm up to a new person, once he did, he became a different dog as we found out when we took him outside for some pictures for my blog post.



And he loved spending time in Mary’s Place with us.


But still no one adopted him. I featured him twice in my blog posts, hoping the right person would read about him. Then COVID-19 hit and Tyson, like most of our dogs, went to a foster home in late March. And then it happened. Tyson was officially adopted by his foster family on March 31. I was thrilled to get this update on one of my all-time favorite shelter dogs.

“Thank you for your love for the WHS animals. I saw your February 26th post about Tyson after I fostered him, and it helped influence me to adopt him. Who wouldn’t want to adopt such a sweet, playful boy?

He is:

Cute.  He loves to snuggle in blankets, rearranged to his satisfaction. He loves his squeaky giraffe toy. He chases his own tail. He brings a toy to arriving family, then prances around to invite keep-away and tug-of-war with it. He loves to roll around on his back and get his tummy rubbed.

Smart.  He takes up his post at the windows every day and alerts to any strangers approaching the house with a “Woof.” Once the person is an accepted visitor, he is very friendly. He can  open screen doors and any doors slightly ajar. 

Patient. He really knows commands. He waits to be fed. He stays in the house alone up to two hours (the most we have tried) without any problems.

We are still working with him on what I learned from training with Marilyn Peterson regarding his reaction to other dogs. He can be anxious about close encounters with dogs. We are hopeful that this will subside with experience and patience. 

Many thanks to you and WHS for sheltering him and making him ready for adoption!”

Tyson’s family says his favorite toy is still the giraffe that was given at the shelter.


On that very happy note, that’s it for this week!



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