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.

Miss Congeniality, the Gentle Border Collie Girl ~ Adopted!

Miss Congeniality, the Gentle Border Collie Girl ~ Adopted!

Adoption Update 10/3/12:  Carly is heartworm negative on the slow kill!!!  Woo Hoo!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in rescue, it’s this: You have to be flexible. Sometimes the dog you set out to save is not the one you come home with! Case in point …

Friday, June 3, 2011: As you probably already know, my last foster (Soldier Boy) didn’t work out exactly as planned. That left me with an open foster slot and three weeks to go before leaving town on vacation for several weeks.

I looked at TDL’s web site to get an idea how long, on average, it was taking adult dogs to get adopted. Approximately two to three weeks. Summer is a very slow time for adoptions and that would be cutting it close, but I couldn’t just sit around with both the means and the time and NOT foster. Shelters in my area are full to bursting, so it’s not like there weren’t dogs I could help. I made sure I had a back-up foster in case the dog didn’t get adopted before I left, then I started looking …

… and found “Faye,” a 2-year-old red merle female Australian Shepherd at Lake City Humane Society/Columbia County Animal Control. She was described as timid and shy, but friendly. Clearly the shelter environment wasn’t doing this girl any good, and it looked like she’d already been there for three weeks or so.

Such an intelligent, gentle girl.

Don’t misunderstand me – it had nothing to do with the shelter itself. Lake City Humane Society is a wonderful shelter and its staff works very hard to care for and save as many lives as possible. In fact, TDL has rescued several excellent dogs from Lake City: Harry Potter, Kipper, Piccadilly, Penny Lane, and Dolly, to name a few. But shelter life is hard on sensitive, intelligent dogs and most herding breeds fall into that “sensitive and intelligent” category.

So I had my mission. I called the shelter to verify that Faye was still available and in need of rescue. “Yes!” was the answer I received. Jeff at the shelter performed a heartworm test for me. It came back negative. Awesome! Now to break the news to Gisele, who thankfully is very tolerant of me and my hair-brained schemes. (I suspect she thinks of me as a wayward child: well-meaning, but occasionally in need of a good talking-to. I’m just glad she has a sense of humor!)

Anyway, I called Gisele and explained the situation. Pause. “Okay, sounds good to me,” was her response. “Call me when you get there and let me know what she’s like.” Isn’t she cool?!?

Saturday, June 4, 2011: I arrived in Lake City as the shelter was opening and introduced myself to Jennifer, the new shelter manager. Friendly and direct, Jennifer took me to meet Faye, a lovely, petite little Aussie, then got straight to the point. “I received a call late last night from an Aussie rescue that said they could take Faye,” she said. “However, yesterday a man surrendered two female border collies. The Aussie rescue can’t take the border collies, but I was hoping you could.” I explained that I could only take one dog because I was the only open TDL foster and would be leaving on vacation myself in just three weeks. I couldn’t commit my back-up foster (a family member) to more than one dog.

Telling everyone "goodbye."

She continued, “You’re the one here now, though, so if you still want Faye she’s yours.” I thought for a second. “Let the Aussie rescue take Faye,” I said. “I can take one of the border collies.” I called Gisele to let her know our plans had changed. She concurred: Faye would go to the Aussie rescue and we would take the border collie. Now for the canine version of “Sophie’s Choice”: Which border collie?

Let me tell you, one of the most heartbreaking parts of rescue for me is standing in a shelter surrounded by dogs vying for my attention and knowing I can only take one with me when I leave. I don’t know how other folks cope with the responsibility, but I have purposefully developed tunnel vision. I don’t look at the hounds or the bully breeds, both of which I personally love, because I know I am there for a different reason. The senior citizens are even harder to bypass because in many cases they have the least likely chance of making it out alive. And it’s not that TDL has never rescued other breeds, because we have and we do. We also take in senior dogs. But our primary mission has always been to rescue the herding breeds. And honestly sometimes it is about numbers: We’ve got one space and we have to choose one dog. If that dog is adopted quickly or another foster home becomes available, we can go back and get another.            

Knowing all this and of course my own situation, I decided to take the younger, friendlier of the two dogs, a 3 ½-year-old tri-colored female named “Maggie.” She was lovely, but she was also heartworm positive. Only time and proper vetting would tell us to what extent she was actually affected.

Before we left, Jennifer asked to show me one more dog: A gorgeous black and tan Australian Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd  mix named “Sheba.” A sensitive beauty, Sheba was extremely stressed in the shelter, so much so that she was losing a lot of her hair, poor girl. I knew I couldn’t take her then, but promised Jennifer I’d post Sheba’s photo and listing on TDL’s facebook page, which I did. Thanks to our wonderful supporters and fosters, TDL was able to pull and therefore save this girl, too!

That's a happy face!

Sunday, June 5, 2011: What a sweet girl my new foster dog has turned out to be! So amiable and likeable, in fact, that I decided to call her Miss Congeniality (“Miss C.” for short). Miss C. weighs 38 lbs., but is long-legged and fine-boned with an almost regal bearing. She must have lived with children at some point; she literally gravitated toward the young boys who visited the shelter with their mother while we were there. She gets along very well with other dogs, appears to be housetrained, and is learning to tolerate the crate. So far, Missy displays no ball drive but instead prefers to sit by my side while the other dogs play. And she loves a good marrow bone!

Miss Congeniality will be fully vetted and her heartworm status further assessed later this week. We’ll post more updates at that time, so keep an eye out!

Monday, June 13, 2011: Miss Congeniality has turned out to be one of the easiest fosters I’ve had. Pretty much everything is okay with her. She’s just a no-muss, no-fuss kind of girl! Intelligent and docile, Miss C. goes with the flow and gets along well with everyone, canine and human alike. She’s not high energy at all and prefers to sit back and watch the other dogs run around and act silly. Occasionally she’ll join in the chase, but I think she realizes she’s “above” it all. lol

Miss C. does have one funny habit: She’s a food hoarder. At dinner time, she likes to dump all her food out, eat some of it, then shove the rest up into the corner of her crate to be consumed at a later time. Is she saving for a rainy day? I really can’t say, but it is humorous to watch!

Thursday, June 16, 2011: Good news from the vet today! Dr. Mutchler said Miss C.’s heart sounds really good. He even went so far as to say he probably wouldn’t even have known she was heartworm positive if I hadn’t told him beforehand. Woo-hoo! The entire vet’s office fell in love with our girl; in fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of there with her. She was a total lady throughout the whole process, reclining on the table with her front paws crossed and tail just a-waggin’. Good thing she has a meet this weekend because she’s really starting to steal my heart!

Miss Congeniality won the hearts of the Higgins family, including grandson Grayson and dog Riley.

Saturday, June 18, 2011: ADOPTED! Today Miss Congeniality won the hearts of the Higgins family with her poise and ladylike demeanor. Linda and Dana adopted Riley (formerly Drummer) last year and decided their gentle pup needed a friend. As you can see from the photo, Riley and the Higgins’ grandson Grayson clearly agree!

~ Amy

Miss Congeniality is being fostered in the Ocala area. You can enjoy many photos of her in her photo album. If you think that you might want to give her a forever home, please first review our Dog Tips page, then read our Adoption Process and e-mail

2 thoughts on “Miss Congeniality, the Gentle Border Collie Girl ~ Adopted!

    1. Jared — I still have your info from our earlier e-mails and will keep you in mind for adoptable dogs later in the summer. Is July/August still your target move-in period? ~ Amy

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