Soldier Boy, the Australian Shepherd mix ~ Adopted!

The story of a shelter dog that never made it to rescue … but still had a happy ending!

“Can you go check out this dog? I think the shelter is close to you.”

So read a message I received last week from Andrea Rigler, TDL’s South Florida connection and resident disc dog expert. The attached photo showed a lovely red-and-white dog with blue eyes, described by the shelter as an “Australian Shepherd mix.” I then received a similar message from Gisele about the same dog.

“I can’t do it this week because I’m going out of town,” I responded to both messages. “But if he’s still there next week, I’ll go by and evaluate him for you.” Knowing how this particular shelter operates and given the beauty of the dog, I felt certain he’d be adopted before I ever got to him. “No worries,” I thought. “He’ll be gone to a new home before I get back.”

But God’s plans often differ from our own, and my horse injured himself the next day. The injury, though not as serious as it originally appeared, would require daily care and therefore put an end to my plans to leave town for the first half of the Memorial Day weekend. No big deal. I had Sweet Pea’s meet and certain adoption on Saturday anyway.

Besides, I’d just gotten an e-mail from another shelter volunteer about a border collie in a neighboring county that was in dire straits. Apparently this poor dog was so frightened no one could put a hand on him. Gisele again asked me to look into the red-and-white Australian Shepherd mix, but when I told her about the frightened border collie we both agreed the second dog’s need was greater. The plan was for me to pick up the border collie on Friday morning. Just as I was leaving my house to retrieve the frightened border collie, the shelter director called and said another rescue had spoken for him.

Okay, now what? I called Gisele back and asked if she’d like me to head over and evaluate the red-and-white Aussie mix from the other shelter. “Please do!” was her immediate response. Off I went with a renewed purpose. The Aussie’s time was nearly up and he was still at the shelter, but I now had both the room at my house and the time in my schedule to take him in. “This will work out well,” I thought.

When I got to the shelter and saw him, I couldn’t believe this beautiful dog had ever wanted for a home in the first place. Not only was he drop-dead gorgeous, but at just a year old he displayed the calm personality and settled nature of a much older dog. Someone had obviously loved and worked with him at some point because he sat, shook, high-fived, and laid down on command. Heartworm negative, completely vetted and vaccinated, gentle, intelligent … yet here he sat. But not for long!

When I got Solider Boy (that’s what we were calling him in honor of Memorial Day) home, he greeted my dogs with the same friendliness he’d greeted me. Awesome! I started thinking about how I’d write his foster diary and brainstormed video song ideas with Holly. We decided to introduce Soldier Boy as TDL’s Memorial Day weekend rescue. He was red, white, and blue-eyed after all!

As I often do with my foster dogs, I packed up Soldier in my truck and headed to my mom’s house for a photo shoot. Her yard with its green grass and flowering shrubs makes a much better backdrop for photos than my barren yard of … well … dirt. Not having a manicured yard is a hazard of fostering I’ve learned to accept.

When we got there, Soldier waited respectfully until I asked him to get out of the truck. He then waited respectfully until I entered my mom’s house before following me in. Good dog! My mom greeted us on the front porch.

“What a beautiful dog!” she said when she saw Soldier.

She sat down on the love seat. Soldier sat down beside her.

She rested her hand on his head and looked down at him. He rested his head on her lap and looked up at her.

“Oh, my,” she said. “Oh, crap,” I said.

I was witnessing that “thing” that so often happens in rescue: The dog was adopting the person. Only the person was my mom. Hello – not supposed to happen this way! I was here to take photos and video, not drop off a dog. My mom was already telling me how much she liked him and asking him if he’d like to “come live with Granny.”

STOP! My 71-year-old mom already had two dogs: a 13-year-old border collie mix (Holly) and a 6-month-old English Shepherd (Beauty).

“You don’t need another dog,” I told her. “Let’s just see how the dogs act around one another,” she told me.

Enter Holly, who took one look at Soldier, turned up her nose, and walked away. The grand dame of the family, Holly rarely lowers herself to consort with other dogs anyway. At thirteen, she has earned that right I think.

Next came Beauty, the 6-month-old puppy who acted like she’d found her brother from another mother. It was love at first sight for her and for Soldier, who was now reduced to pure, unadulterated puppy joy before our eyes.

“Oh, my,” my mother said. “Oh, crap,” I said.

“This is my dog,” my mother said. “This is a problem,” I said.

Ever the dutiful daughter, I called Holly (Gisele was on vacation at this point) and told her the whole story, from beginning to end. Her reaction? She laughed at me as she often does when I find myself in a jam. Holly in turn called Gisele and told her the whole story, from beginning to end. Gisele, too, had a chuckle at my expense. Here I was on the verge of adopting the very dog I’d basically been avoiding – however unconsciously – for a week. The irony of the situation was striking, as Holly was quick to point out. She was also quick to point out that she’d be enjoying the humor of it all for some time to come.

“Oh, my!” she said. “Oh, crap!” I said.

~ Amy

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







4 Comments

  1. Gisele

    06.04.2011

    This is AWESOME!!!! Oh Crap!

  2. Raven Dorminey

    06.06.2011

    So sweet! I love when dogs choose their owners! They are having fun in the yard sniffing and jumping into the water fountain. Good job finding your mom her new dogs!

  3. Beth

    08.07.2013

    Soldier Boy is the closest I’ve come to finding a dog that looked like my old dog. Shepherd husky mix with the red/orange coloring, marbled blue eyes… Could never really nail down what he was mixed with. I know that if I ever find another dog like him, I will not hesistate to adopt them. 🙂

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