May 1, 2012

Lessons learned from Harley and CSRSEVA

First off, let me start off with the obvious: Harley is beautiful. He is so perfect a looking sheltie, that I cannot believe that he was turned in. Surprise number two was that the Norfolk Animal Care Center had contacted Collie and Sheltie Rescue of Southeast Virginia because they had believed that Harley was unadoptable. 

Let me take a minute to explain this. NACC is a wonderful organization that I support wholeheartedly. They are breaking the stereotypical concept of 'pound' with a bright, clean, open facility with dedicated and friendly staff. As much as they do for the animals there, however, being turned in is a traumatic event for pets. Most dogs are very resilient mentally, but shelties are notoriously sensitive. Harley just shut down. He was high anxiety, very fearful, and just a wreck. The workers felt that it was too much stress on him, and worried that he would become fear aggressive. So, they called the Collie and Sheltie Rescue and they in turn called me. 
By the way, this is my favorite picture of Harley.
This is the Harley that I met. A little nervous, needing a good bath, but overall a good dog. Out of the shelter he was just a calm, cool, and collected dude. Initially, both Relay and Holly (our other foster at the time) kept their distance, I think in large part because of the cone. Also, hearing his background, Jeff and I took it slow with him. After two weeks of getting adjusted and the cone no longer in the picture, the dogs were just dogs. They played, they chased, they ate, they slept.


Harley taught me that dogs want to be healthy, happy, and well adjusted. Sometimes even behaviors that are assessed as insurmountable are just factors of circumstance. It is very easy to imagine, had he been dropped off at another shelter that doesn't contact rescues, Harley would have been put down. That beautiful, vibrant, loving dog would have never been a part of our lives. 

UntitledNow as for Collie and Sheltie Rescue, after my first failed relationship with a different group, I have to admit being a little apprehensive and more than a little sensitive. I was waiting for the shoe to drop, but it never happened. Logistically, there were some issues with correspondence via email, but that is pretty much the only hiccup. Our foster coordinator, who also runs the rescue, was just kind, supportive, and completely engaged with every dog who comes through her group. She has a passion for the breeds and a big knowledge base. When I called with a question, I got her undivided attention and we worked through to a solution.
Getting a belly rub

Thankfully, this is a group that I believe we can build a lasting relationship with. Jeff was always partial to shelties, and now having known Harley I can very much understand the appeal.

Harley's now happily settled in his forever home. I did get a chance to meet his adoptive family prior to and I'm very happy to say that my blog helped facilitate that. It was great to know that someone was able to read up on our boy, learn about his personality, and have that information help aid his adoption. There are times when I feel I'm just talking to the wind, but there are times when I get feedback letting me know I'm on the right track. Hopefully, we'll be able to see Harley again here soon (and you'd better stop chasing those cats, Mister!) Until then, lots of love for the best looking dog in Hampton Roads.


He's a cutie and lucky to have great foster people like you!

Post a Comment


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More