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28 October 2008


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I have a formerly abused, starved shelter rescue. She has gone from "must be an only dog" with issues to a much loved, bullet-proof therapy dog that is an ambassador for her breed. She is my pal, my shadow, and keeps within her a big piece of my heart.

Great column.


Beautiful column! I wholeheartedly agree! I adopted recently and the effort is so minimal in comparison to the love that comes back. I absolutely swear that "appreciation" can be seen on the faces and in the actions of dogs that get another chance. And seeing them learn and feel safe and trust is the most enjoyable thing I could ever experience.

Diana L Guerrero

Christie you did an unbelievably great job with this story--it took my breath away.

Thanks for sharing Colleen's story. I've had a dog like that, too.

You are right that dog left a big impact on my life that pales in comparison to the other animals I've had.

During my career it was always the toughest cases that have stayed with me. Perhaps it is because you connect and really become unconditional and just focus on the benefits.


Great column! I wish I could bring Kasey to work with me. But at least someone is home all day with him.

Sara Jo

Wow! That was an awesome column. I know that some people think I'm crazy for putting so much effort and work into my rescue dog, but it is so rewarding to see this little dog evolve into a confident, well-mannered dog. We had some real hurdles to overcome, still have a few, but I have never loved a dog so much. You just gave a voice to how I feel in such a beautiful way. Thank you.


Let's hope that if Obama wins we can nicely encourage him to adopt a shelter dog for his little girls. That would be sooo cool.

Bev at Pet Care

Christie and Colleen--your story has made me misty eyed and heart-full. What a great way to end my day at the office.

Just a side note: The company I work for is involved with a global pet adoption event called Iams Home 4 the Holidays. Our goal is to get over one million pets adopted by January 5, 2009. I learned today that as of midnight, 10/30/08 we've helped adopt 216,630 pets into new, forever homes! That's over 7,000 pets a day! For more details, visit www.IamsHome4theHolidays.com.

Bless all who adopt! Peace on Earth and good homes to pets!


Your love for Collen and pets really shines bright in your beautiful & very well written column.

Sadly many people out there would of returned Colleen to the shelter before taking her to the vet and especially before taking her to an emergency vet clinic. Some expect the perfect pet and when the first thing goes wrong they freak out and return them to the shelter.

Only 10% had a valid reason for doing it and that always deeply upset me when I volunteered at the Humane Society in Boca Raton, FL, 7 days a week a few years ago. My saddest days were when any pets were returned. I remember at least 2-3 people returning their new pets every month because of the dog just having diarrhea. I wish more people in this world had the heart and love you have for animals.

Shelter dogs are the best dogs in the world. They have been to the dark side and once they get a loving home they appreciate it that much more. Thank you so much for helping to get the word out on how amazing a shelter pet is to adopt.

We can do amazing things when are hearts are full of such passion.



Be prepared -- it works in life and it works when getting a shelter dog, also. We'd done some tests at the rescue society's "puppy day" where we picked out Pepper, so we knew she had the potential to be the dog we wanted.

However, when I looked into that 5-month-old Border Colle/Shiba Inu's (didn't know what a Shiba was then) eyes after we brought her home, I knew that this was one smart dog who was well-meaning, but didn't have a clue as to what to do, BUT that if we didn't get some guidance together, she was going to make all the decisions herself.

My husband is a great guy, but famously cheap. He wanted to buy a book (Dog Training for Dummies) which was helpful, but I put my foot down and we paid the money to have private sessions with a well-respected dog trainer.

Even my husband admits that it was smartest investment we could have made. Pepper had a combination of "baggage" and "I'm young, inexperienced and pushy", but the three of us all learned to communicate and trust each other such that 6 years later, we're a family that trusts and supports each other.

The trainer says that Pepper has a charmed life -- she was an unwanted mutt puppy placed in a poor WVA shelter where they still use gas, plucked out by rescue, transported to Southeastern PA and, in spite of being high-energy and super-smart, managed to find a family that understands her.

It's too dicey to depend on karma for all the great shelter dogs out there. Consider your dog as a 15-year relationship and invest accordingly. Yeah, it's a pain in the butt to go to class with your puppy for 3 months and to train every day and doggie adolescence is just as hair-pulling as the human one. But just as putting in the time and effort with one's children or spouse or friends pays off tremendous dividends, putting in the time and effort with your dog means that you have a relationship that enriches your life whenever you need it.

Get a dog at a shelter. Then, invest in training so that you both have a "forever home" in each other.

Jane Finneran

PLEASE, anyone with connections or the know-how. Let's see if we can't influence Obama to choose a rescue or shelter dog for the girls. Think what it would do for shelter dogs everywhere!

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