The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Lord Nelson of Sunshine Estates~Adopted

Lord Nelson of Sunshine Estates~Adopted
AKC Collie, Nelson

This gorgeous collie boy, born January 7, 2010 was scooped up by Laura Watson in Jacksonville.  He comes with his AKC paperwork, is fully vetted, neutered, microchipped, and Laura had him professionally groomed!  He is great with kids and other dogs.  We will learn more about him over the next few days, and I’m really anxious to meet him!

His photo album can be viewed on Facebook.


05/20/11 Adoption Update: While AKC may recognize him as Lord Nelson of Sunshine Estates to me and my wife Melissa he is Bandit, The Thief of Hearts.

It has just been over a week that Bandit entered our lives. We were out talking with neighbors when Laura Watson pulled into her driveway across the cul-de-sac. Out jumped Bandit from the backseat. At first I thought it was Laura’s Australian Shepard, Starbuck, but soon realized it was not. Laura walked over to us with Bandit prancing alongside her and it was love at first sight for me. He was gentle and regal as he acquainted himself with all of us.

That evening I talked with Melissa about Bandit. We have 4 indoor cats and 5 cockatiels so adopting a dog had never been an option, at least we thought that until we met Bandit. We talked at length and again agreed that a dog would just turn our house and lives upside down. I kept on saying to Melissa that he was such a good dog, but I understood the concerns of adopting Bandit. I think Melissa was trying to throw me a bone to get me my dog fix and said, “Well maybe you can ask Laura tomorrow if you can dog sit for him while she’s away during the day. Well the next morning as I returned from my bicycle ride Laura was getting her 2 boys into her vehicle to take them to school. I asked how Bandit did thru the night and she said he did well for being in a strange house, but wasn’t sure how he would do locked up all day. As if reading my mind Laura asked, “Do you want to dog sit him today?” She didn’t have to ask me twice.

We spent the entire day together, taking 3 walks and hanging out in our house. The cats were quite startled when Bandit came in and they retreated to the 2nd floor landing. They sat there peeking thru the spindles at the massive fur ball not sure what to make of him. Bandit showed interest in the cats and tried to follow up the stairs, but as soon as I said “No” he backed down and has not been up the stairs once since he came into our home that day.

We returned him to Laura that evening, but I readily stated I was available the next day. The next day came and once again we had a great day together meeting other dogs and neighbors in our subdivision. I asked Laura if he could spend the night with us. In order to allow the cats some freedom of the house I locked both Bandit and myself in my home office. It was an uneventful night. The next day and night we spent together again making new friends on our walks. The 2nd night was a repeat of the first with both of us sleeping in the office.

It was now Friday. My wife came home early as she usually does on Friday. We went to lunch and upon our return Melissa laid down on our loveseat to relax. I was across the room with Bandit. I told Bandit, “Give mommy a kiss.” On queue he crossed the room and started licking Melissa’s face. She looked at me and asked how long I had trained him to do that. He came back to me and I again told him to give mommy a kiss. He returned to Melissa and again licked her face. She then accused us of ganging up on her.

We talked more about Bandit as the day went on, but Melissa was still unsure if adopting him would be the right thing for him as well as us. I told Melissa if we were not going to adopt him it would be best to take him back to Laura before the attachment was too great. We walked Bandit back to Laura that evening with the intention of leaving Bandit with her. We spoke for a short time and Laura told us she had the vet papers and went inside to get them so we could see that Bandit was up to date with his shots. While Laura went inside Melissa looked at me with a tear in her eye and asked if I wanted to keep him. Of course I did, but I said I completely understood her concerns with the cats. Next thing I know we’re walking back across the cul-de-sac with Bandit prancing along with us. This led to a 3rd night together. I brought a dog kennel into the office and within minutes Bandit made himself comfortable inside it. That night I decided to keep him in the kennel and left him alone. Unfortunately he started to bark and continued barking for 30 minutes. I ended up leaving him in the kennel, but slept on the sofa next to him. He was as quiet as a mouse.

Saturday afternoon came and after a long heartfelt discussion with Melissa we decided to adopt Bandit. Melissa told me to call Laura, but I insisted that she call Laura because Laura already knew I wanted Bandit and I wanted the announcement to come from Melissa. Laura was indeed surprised, but very happy and stated that she thought we were a perfect match.

Bandit continued to display separation anxiety each night so on Monday I took him to a pet store to look into a anti-bark spray collar to see if we could remedy his barking when left alone. As we walked thru the store a woman took interest in him and marveled on how well behaved and beautiful he was. I told her we just adopted him and she insisted on buying him a toy. I told her it was not necessary, but she walked around the store with Bandit until he picked out a toy. We eventually found the SpraySense Anti-Bark collar and returned home. That night and every night since Bandit has worn the collar when kenneled, he barks once and then quietly spends the night alone in the office in his kennel while the cats have free reign in the rest of the house.

3 out of 4 of the cats have ventured down from the 2nd floor during the day and have had close encounters with Bandit. Bandit has established a truce with the cats. He won’t run from them if they don’t hiss at him. He’s a big baby at heart.

Today is Thursday. We drove to a local park and took a long walk along the St. Johns River. While there we stopped and rested on a bench near the playground. Several children asked if they could pet Bandit. Within a manner of minutes Bandit was surrounded by 7-8 children ranging in age from 2 years to 5 years. He was as gentle as could be as they pet his head, back and rear end simultaneously.

It has been 30+ years since I had owned a dog. Bandit is so worth the wait. I thank Laura Watson and the wonderful people of The Dog Liberator for bringing Lord Nelson (aka Bandit) into our lives.

Paul and Melissa


10/11/11 Update:

Adoption Update: Hi everyone! Bandit here! Well officially I’m Lord Nelson of Sunshine Estates, but I don’t use that name often because I don’t want the dogs in the neighborhood to know I’m royalty. It is about 5 months now since I adopted my new humans. Paul and Melissa have fallen head over heels in love with me. Who can blame them though, just look at me, I’m one good looking collie and of course I’m a lord.

It has taken me a while, but I think I have finally got Paul and Melissa trained. It was difficult at first because they are cat people. Yes! Cat people! You know cats, those finicky and snobbish felines that chase laser lights around, but turn their noses up at a tasty pig ear.

There are 4 (Pluto, Sox, White Paws and Miss Wiggles) in this house. Yes! 4 cats! Can you believe that? Why would they want 1 cat, let alone 4? Oh, did I forget to mention my new humans also have 5 cockatiels. They’re more useless than the 4 cats, but I digress.

Anyway, I have got them trained to give me a treat when I sit and raise my paw, and when I go into my kennel right before I send them out of the house on errands.Just 2 weeks into living with my new humans I finagled my way into being taken on vacation to Tennessee.

Yes I did! And those cats and birds didn’t get to go! It was wonderful. I had the entire back seat to myself. I looked around, slobbered on the rear windows until I couldn’t see a thing and then napped most of the way up there. Every couple of hours they stopped along the way to show me off. They must have called ahead because no matter where we stopped a crowd gathered around me. “Oh what a beautiful dog you are” they would all say. I would respond, “Yes I am! Now pet me some more!”

When I arrived in Tennessee I was stunned. There wasn’t a flat area to be found. I was going to have to learn to poop and pee on a mountain. I learned pretty fast after getting my paws wet to point my rear downhill. I was also surprised to find out that I had human-in-laws.

I can’t remember all their names, but their dog, Buddy sure seemed to have them wrapped around his paw. He is from New Orleans. ”Laissez les bons temps rouler!” For those who don’t know Cajun French that means, “Let the good times roll!” I mean, he was allowed on the sofa and the bed, and didn’t have to go into a kennel when all the humans went out. He was living the high life. Well if he could train his humans, I could certainly train mine.

Buddy showed me all his tricks. He even let me use his humans to practice on. Next thing you know I was running through the house jumping on the sofa and beds. Buddy’s humans were loving it, but my humans were yelling at me to stop and calm down. Buddy told me not to worry, just jump on them, lick their faces and before long they will be putty in your paws.

I’m not sure what putty is, but before long my humans just gave up the fight and let me have my way on the sofa and bed. Well at least while we were on vacation that week.Back in Jacksonville I started Paul on an exercise regimen. I walk him 2 times a day and if he has eaten too many cookies before bedtime, I’ll walk him 3 times the next day. I keep him on a leash during our walks so he won’t get lost. If he goes off on his own he must get lost because he is gone for hours at times, but when I take him out for a walk I usually have him back at the house in 30-60 minutes.

I have one of those retractable leashes so he can’t wander more than 16 feet away. Sometimes I take Paul to the beach so he could look for shells or to a park along the St. John’s River so he can walk the paths with the rest of the humans. Paul has lost about 10 pounds since I started walking him. I thought he needed to lose a few more pounds so a few weeks ago I started him on bicycle training.

He couldn’t ride the bike at first so he just walked on one side while I walked on the other side. After we did that a few times I thought he got his confidence, so I graduated him to sitting on the seat and allowing him to slowly peddle the bike. I still had to walk along on the one side though. I think it must be because he has some sort of balance problem.

He seems to always lean to the left as I pull to the right. Sounds like politics to me, but unlike our politicians, we have learned to compromise. So now as I run alongside the bike as he peddles through the neighborhood, we stay in the middle of the road, never straying too far to the left or right.

About once a month I do my day at the spa (The Poochie Spa) for a bath, teeth cleaning and a nail job. I come out of there feeling like a new dog. Feels pretty good except for that silly little blue bow they stuck on my head. At first I thought they were putting a crown on me. After all I’m a lord, but then I saw it in the mirror. OMG! A BLUE BOW! What’s wrong with these humans!

Well I made damn sure I gave Paul my 2 cents worth about that bow.I’ve met quite a few dogs in the neighborhood while walking Paul. There is Poppy (a cute little toy poodle), Lyle (a large dog with beagle markings and coloring), Chief (a terrier who tries to bully the other dogs in the neighborhood),Trip (a 3 legged poodle), Ruby (a basset hound) and a female great dane (name unknown) who has the longest legs you could ever dream about. Ruff!!!

Of course there is Starbuck (an Australian shepherd) and Tootsie (a chocolate lab) who live across the cul-de-sac with humans, Matt and Laura (who I convinced to bring me to Paul and Melissa 5 months ago). My best friend however is Buddy. No, not Buddy from New Orleans, although he is a good friend. No, not the Buddy that lives a street over on Julington Creek Road, nor Buddy and Buddy 2 who used to live next door to my humans. Seems like every other dog I meet is called Buddy. I’m talking about Buddy (a mastiff) who lives in downtown Jacksonville in something called a high rise condo.

On most Fridays Buddy’s human brings him over to my neighborhood to spend the day at Auntie Gayle’s house. Auntie Gayle lives 5 houses down the street and has a huge backyard. Buddy and I run around chasing one another until we fall over from exhaustion. We play tug-o-war with tree branches and rope. We play, “Who can pull out the most weeds?” We drink out of the bird bath and turtle pond. Life is good on our Friday play dates.

We had a treat a few weeks ago on a Wednesday. Buddy made a surprise visit to the neighborhood that day. He came to guard Auntie Gayle because her husband was traveling out of town. So I invited Buddy over to my yard for a little fun and games. While Auntie Gayle’s yard is flat and grassy, my yard has an above ground pool (installed so I can run circles around it), multiple decks (so I can run over and under them like an obstacle course) and an area in the back called “The Wetlands”. I didn’t know what “The Wetlands” were because my humans would fuss at me every time I went towards the area.

Buddy and I did the pool circle and the obstacle decks for a while, but when the humans were busy talking, Buddy decided to explore “The Wetlands”. I stayed back to be the lookout while Buddy went deeper and deeper into the brush. I started hearing a squishy sound. Next thing I know I couldn’t see Buddy. Where did he go? All of a sudden I heard the humans calling Buddy. “Where are you Buddy? Come Buddy!” they called out. I heard more squishy noises. I edged my way towards the squishy sounds and then I saw him. Buddy was covered in mud from his paws to his underbelly. What a sight! Then I heard Auntie Gayle shrill “BUDDY!!!!” Buddy came running out with mud flying everywhere.

Auntie Gayle was trying to catch Buddy while Paul was grabbing the garden hose. Mud and water everywhere. It was pure entertainment.A couple of days later when Paul was busy doing his daily pool stirring (sticking a big long stick with a brush on the end into the pool over and over again), I decided I would explore “The Wetlands” on my own. Wow! It was spooky. Tall plants with insects I had never seen before.

There were plants that looked like they could eat me. Then I started hearing the squishy sounds. It was right below me! I started having that sinking feeling. I mean that literally. I looked down and could not see my legs. OMG! I was disappearing fast. I called out to Paul, “Ruff, Ruff!!!” I know from watching the Lassie reruns that “Ruff, Ruff!” usually means that Timmy fell into the well, but this time it meant, “Hey, I’m stuck in the mud!” Paul came running over yelling at me, “Get out of there Bandit!” Well I would if I could! So Paul came to my rescue and pulled me out. I was covered in mud from my paws to my underbelly just like my best friend Buddy and just a week after my visit to the Poochie Spa.

I guess I showed them I was no blue bow wearing pup!Well, that’s pretty much been my life since I adopted Paul and Melissa.

One thought on “Lord Nelson of Sunshine Estates~Adopted

  1. I love your story! Bandit is a wonderful addition to your family. He is one beautiful animal and I know he will give you many years of joy and laughter. Congrats to you and Melissa.

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