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.

Sonnet, a Craig’s List Success–ADOPTED!

Sonnet, a Craig’s List Success–ADOPTED!
Showing off her good looks!

I’m sure it’s safe to say that if you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve been on craigslist. Whether you’re looking for a lightly used microwave (food is only included if you’re lucky), or for a full living room set for your apartment, chances are that it’s on craigslist, and in five different colors. Now while this may be a wonderful tool for those yardsale junkies looking to sell off their My Little Pony collection, or a reasonable alternative to buying all new appliances from a Sears outlet store, we have all heard the horror stories of animals who suffer from the use and abuse of the internet world. Craigslist ads have been widely discussed here in the TDL community, and if you’re curious to know more, I encourage you to read our article on the dangers of the words “free to good a home“, and what it could mean for your pet.

Being someone who is often outspoken on the issue, I am happy to say that in Sonnet’s case, this is a story of craigslist done right.

About a week ago, I was perusing craigslist looking for some cheapo dog crates to stock up on for future transports (let’s be honest, you can never have too many crates) when I stumbled across an ad that caught my eye. It should be mentioned that anytime you do a search in the “community” or “pets” portion of craiglist, it does not matter what your search criteria is– you are bound to get hundreds of ads from people looking to get, or get rid of an animal. Normally, I skip over these ads because a) they make me angry, and b) they break my heart. But for some reason or another, I found myself clicking one ad that read “Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix Needs New Home”, and this is the message that followed.

I have a Border Collie mix about 1 year old that I need to find a home. She is housebroken, loves kids, and loves dogs. I am going through a divorce and no longer have the time or ability to care for her. 50$ rehoming fee, but price is negotiable to the right person. She is vetted. Email for pics.”

Naturally, my curiosity was piqued. A Border Collie/ Golden?  Could this maybe be a case of mistaken identity? Working in rescue, you learn quickly that labels mean nothing. In dog breeds, the saying “if it looks like a duck; walks like a duck; and quacks, it’s a duck” is far from true. Don’t believe me? Check out Noodle and get back to me when you come up with a definitive answer.

I had a feeling in my gut that this dog not a Golden mix at all, but more than likely a blonde Border Collie, or an English Shepherd, both of which are often confused as mixed breeds because of their color. I quickly sent an email to the poster, asking for a few photos. My suspicions were confirmed when I got the reply–there was no doubt about it, this girl was no retriever!

The first photo I received of "Penny" now named Sonnet!

I did some quick research in distinguishing between Border Collies and English Shepherds, and I have deduced that she is of the latter breed. I forwarded the photos to Gisele, and crossed my fingers. When she gave me the A-OK to continue, I was way ahead of her. I had already exchanged some information with her former owner, and had scheduled a time to go meet this girl in person.

Steve and I arrive at the apartment at 8:00pm on Thursday evening, expecting a quick exchange of words before we headed back home. Instead, we found ourselves in the threshold of a small, modest apartment in north Georgia, being greeted by a young man no older than 25 and one of the happiest, healthiest dogs I could have expected to meet. Excepting a few children’s toys scattered about the apartment was fairly bare; the belongings that were visible were clustered in disorganized piles.

“Sorry about the mess” he says, “I just sold my fridge”.

We assured him it was not a problem, and made on with some small talk before getting to the real information about the dog. He told us the story of how he got her, just as a little pup at 6 weeks old. He mentioned how she loves water, how much his two children love her, and how great she was with them–all the comments of someone who truly knew, and loved his dog. Her coat is shiny and silken to the touch, she is well-socialized, housebroken and even knows a few tricks. When he presented me with a full vet record, I was nearly floored! I know he mentioned she was “vetted”, but that can mean many things. At most, I assumed she had been spayed. I was not expecting a physical copy of every vet visit she had, or a dated log of ever vaccine, procedure, and check up she had been to in the past year. Oh, right, AND she’s microchipped! I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty speechless when he brings out a bag of her medications. Heartguard. Frontline plus. A brand new rabies tag dated 6-14-2011. There was no question this dog was well-loved.

Now, prior to meeting the man, I had put little thought as to the real reason he was rehoming his dog. It is the sad truth that people will often make up stories as to why they can no longer keep, or care for their animal, and we have all at one point had a little (although sometimes bitter) snicker at the phrase “I’m moving” or “We just had a baby” or “really, she’s a great dog”.  I had kept in mind that his explanation in his ad was a divorce, but this was my first time dealing with a non-shelter dog, and I am not sure what I was expecting, but it is an experience I will never forget.

I think all too often we are quick to judge people who for whatever reason choose to give up an animal. We have all heard the excuses so many times that they almost become meaningless. They become a means of self-justification for the person who is abdicating ownership, but they give no consolation for the person on the receiving end of the leash.

Who doesn't love a blonde?

So many people say “I don’t understand how someone could just give away their family pet!” and I agree, I don’t understand how they do it. But what I have learned from this experience is that sometimes, there actually are mitigating circumstances. Life happens. I think in the case of Sonnet, the decision to rehome her was not one taken lightly. The level of care she was given speaks for itself. I feel that this was not a situation where a man no longer wanted his dog, but of a soon-to-be single dad, struggling to make the right decision for his family, and in this case I think he made the right one.

The product of his efforts is that Sonnet has lived up to be the wonderful, well-balanced dog he described to me. She is such a pleasure, it is hard to find words to describe her. She is perfectly housebroken, and does not need to be crated. She has a gentle eye and a gentle demeanor; I can 100% see how she would be a perfect child’s pet. She does not chew, and she does not bark, nor does she jump, or countersurf! In honesty, I’m having a hard time finding any flaws with her.

Sonnet and my cat share a kiss.

She has no problem with cats, she is not overly-exciteable, and she’s good on the leash. She does get a little timid with thunderstorms, but not aggressively, or panicked. Oh, and she loves water! This is the kind of dog I can see a family taking to a picnic in the park, or at the lake, or even better, as a boat companion! She does not have the strong eye or drive of a Border Collie, and she is a little stockier, which leads me to believe she is an English Shepherd.

She also seems to have a preference for men; or at least, my man. She follows Steve around the apartment like they have been friends all their lives! It is very clear she is a Daddy’s girl! I think even the burliest of guys would fall in love with those sweet brown eyes of hers. 🙂

She will be coming to work with me on Monday– I’ve been talking to my employers about her all week, so I know they are anxious to meet her. More updates will be coming soon, but in the meantime, check out  her video below, and more photos in her Facebook photo album!

Update: 7-4-2011

Sonnet has really begun to show her true colors the past few days! Now that she has settled down and grown accustomed to Steve and I, she is starting to ham it up. She and Weezer (the resident corgi) play and romp nonstop, but never get too out of hand. Yet even in her rough-housing, she is very gentle. Though she is mouthy when she plays, you’ll never feel a tooth from this girl, or ever hear a growl.

She has really shown herself to be a carefree spirit, and one with a sense of humor!  The past three nights I’ve woken up to her laying belly-up staring me in the face. It’s like she’s saying “Good morning Sunshine –go make your coffee”!  No matter what kind of mood I would have been in, I can’t help but laugh. She has always got this goofy grin on her face; no matter the occasion, she is always cheery!

She waits at the door to come to work with me every morning, and all the trainers adore her. If you’re the kind of person looking to take your dog to the office, here’s your gal.

I had her professionally evaluated last week, and she passed with flying colors! She was just as happy to play with all the little dachshunds and chi-poms as she was romping with mastiffs and labs, so I think it’s safe to say she can find harmony in any family setting.

If you are interested in adopting Sonnet, please review our adoption process! Sonnet is currently being fostered in the Atlanta, GA area.  Inquiries can be directed to

Update: 7/7/2011

Sonnet has been adopted!

Her new Dad, Gordon, is all I could ever ask for in a home. Although I was literally swamped with adoption inquiries, something about Gordon’s email really stuck out to me. Maybe it was the idea of her going to live out her life in a quiet mountain home (let’s face it, who doesn’t dream of retiring in a secluded cabin somewhere) but whatever it was, reading his email gave me that tingle feeling in my gut.

Originally I had thought “no, I’ll hold off. I couldn’t transport her any time in the near future. Someone local will come”. So I emailed Gordon back.

I’m sorry, our rescue is not in the position to transport out of state at the moment”, thinking with some sadness that this would be last I heard from this family, who not only described to me Sonnet’s potential life in great detail, but even sent photos!

Yet as more and more adoption inquiries poured in, there will still no locals. But there was still Gordon! You can imagine the excitement I felt when I got a response stating “Transport is no issue. I will drive to Atlanta!”

Sonnet meets Gordon for the first time!

Three days later he’s at my doorstep, with his two dogs Harry and Jake along for the ride!

The three of them had a good few minutes to acclimate to one another at my local dogpark, and I can confidently say I think Gordon, Harry, and Jake are all excited to bring home some female vibes for this house of men! This family portrait is complete, and I couldn’t be happier!


North Carolina, welcome your first Dog Liberator Dog!

6 thoughts on “Sonnet, a Craig’s List Success–ADOPTED!

  1. HELLO.

  2. Sonnet certainly looks like an English Shepherd to me!! Follow the link to my doggie blog, scroll down a little bit, and you will see photos of our English Shep, Holly, who died very unexpectedly in Oct. of last year at age 9. she was a rescue. Holly has the same markings, similar coat, tail feathers etc, but she was a little darker colored, we called it pumpkin color.

    Thanks for the video and the nice pictures.

  3. National English Shepherd Rescue could offer a courtesy listing for Sonnet on our site.

    Your “quick research” into her breed was probably the web version of the handout I did for pounds and shelters a few years ago.

    She looks like a Wilson-line ES to me, which are relatively common in GA and the Carolinas. She also looks a lot like one of my former NESR fosters, Teddy.

    1. Thank you so much for your input! I’m glad to know there are more English Shepherd fans out there. When I first told everyone I felt she was English Shepherd, I got some incredulous expressions/comments. I had a general knowledge that the breed existed, but I didn’t know much about them other than the blanket factoids. The more I learn about them, the more rapidly they’re becoming one of my favorite breeds!

      Sonnet has a meet lined up, but I would love to keep your organization in mind if ever we come across any more English Shepherds in our rescue! Rescue is a team effort, after all.

  4. Sonnet is beautiful. Congrats on finding her such a great home and going with your gut. She does definitely seem like an English Shepherd and IMO they are the best breed out there (but I may be biased :))They are out best kept secret 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: