Image by Mark D McKinley
(November 19, 2015) - After weeks without Alf we decided we needed another dog in our household. I began searching shelters and rescue organizations one evening. Hundreds of dogs were available for adoption, only two grabbed my attention after reading their bios. The first dog was a poodle/cockapoo mix named Toby. He looked like a nice dog and his bio stated that he had a good temperament so I submitted an online adoption application for him. Halfway through the extensive questionnaire I felt as though I was applying for a person. The application was very thorough. Toby wasn't quite ready for adoption at that time and you never know how many applications had previously been submitted for any given dog.
My online search continued the next night and I discovered Gus, a mini Australian Shepherd located at a rescue shelter in another town. The adoption process and application was much the same as the previous dog I had applied for - extremely thorough. Tammy and I felt comfortable to meet either of the two dogs. It was 9:44pm on a Saturday night when I submitted the online application to adopt Gus.
The next morning at 8:45am (Sunday), I received an e-mail from the rescue shelter. The woman explained that she would call our vet and other submitted references first thing Monday morning since it was Sunday. I emailed her back and mentioned that our vet was open from 10am - 5pm on Sundays.
She immediately replied that she would call our vet in a couple of hours. About two hours later I received another email from the shelter and was told that our application was being sent to the director of the shelter - the person that handles placement. After talking with our vet she felt we were a suitable consideration to adopt. Later that same day I received an email from Toby's shelter stating that Toby had been adopted that afternoon.
The owner of the rescue shelter where Gus was staying called me at work the next morning to inform me that we qualified for adoption and we could meet Gus at our convenience. We scheduled a meet and greet session with him for Thursday evening.
Gus is a bona fide rescued dog. He had lived with an elderly person for four years and they were best friends. His owner developed alzheimers and was no longer capable of caring for Gus. Something had to be done so a family member had Gus removed from his former home.
When we arrived at the shelter a different dog was in their outdoor greeting area, potentially meeting its new owner. Tammy and I obsevered two dogs before meeting Gus. Both dogs were clean and appeared healthy. They seemed happy and full of energy. We watched those dogs as they ran around and played for several minutes.
It became obvious to us that the shelter owner knew her dogs well and also scrutinized potential adoption clients by watching, listening, and through casual conversation. She also paid attention to their body language. The potential client that arrived before us left the shelter without a dog. The shelter director/owner then led the two dogs inside and brought Gus outside for us to meet. We could tell that Gus was bonding with her. His behavior and mannerisms suggested a dog that was hanging out with his best pal.
We spent nearly an hour and half observing Gus and using his name through simple commands. We hung out with him and the shelter owner, not wishing to rush into our adoption decision. We were impressed with the shelter owner's interaction with the dogs, and the outdoor areas of the facility that we saw were clean and orderly.
Our moment of decision arrived and I signed the papers and paid the fee - Gus was adopted and rode in the back seat to Lexington. From the onset Gus has been a little gentleman. He's adapted to life with us well. We've taken it slow and easy. We gave Gus time to just hang out and find his place in our home. He eats well and drinks plenty of water. He enjoys running laps outside in his fenced backyard. He enjoys taking leashed walks through the neighborhood and has met three of our neighbors already. It took less than a week for Gus to feel totally comfortable around us. We're beginning to get the impression Gus thinks he lives here!
Gus is a purebred with a loving personality. He has a typical Aussie coat coloration - listed as red and white. More accurately described - a dark chocolate head and neck that blends to cinnamon toward his back and hind legs. His forehead, muzzle, and chest are predominately white along with the lower portion of his legs. He has dark brown eyes and a blue fleck in the lower part of his right eye. Gus moves quietly through the house and has a calm, gentle demeanor. He's an affectionate little guy with a winning smile and enjoys hanging out with his human pack. Gus tends to kick it up a notch when outdoors and shifts into high gear in short bursts, running laps around the yard. Gus enjoys having an outdoor audience, too!
- Mark McKinley
Visit Alfie's memorial website. Alf will never be replaced. He was truly a one of a kind pet. Alf's passing left a hole in our hearts. Alf was also a shelter dog. Knowing there are other dogs that need love, too - there's room in our hearts for another four legged pal. Our new friend arrived in the form of a five year old rescue named Gus.
Visit GUS' BLOGS - Coming Winter / Spring 2016