Pet's name: Zaphod
Adopted by: Kristen and Drew
From: Catahoula Rescue Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Kristen and Drew's dog Hailey appeared on From Alone to Home in September 2011, and they recently found their new family member, Zaphod, after deciding that Hailey would benefit from a companion. You can read more about Hailey and Zaphod at Kristen's blog, The Hailey Chronicles.
After nearly a year of being a one-dog family after the tragic death of a beloved pet, I began to think about adding a second. Our lives were about to profoundly change as we moved from a small house in the city to a large house on two acres in the country. Hailey, the current canine pack member, suffers from anxiety and we thought a companion may help. Also, we knew being in the country would not offer the same daily canine contact that the city did.
I started by putting feelers to Catahoula Rescue, from whom we had rescued Hailey. I started with the disclaimer that while we adored Hailey with all her energy, anxiety, and craziness, we were looking for the opposite, someone calm, cool and collected. Gloria, the head of the organization, gave it some thought and suggested we meet Zaphod, whom she described as a gem of a dog. He had been picked up as a stray (which made his foster mom think of hitchhiking, which made her think of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which made her pick the name Zaphod) and had been in a local pound, severely underweight. Gloria had removed him from the pound and put him into foster care.
I admit to being slightly nervous about meeting a German shepherd mix. As a child I knew one who was aggressive and possessive. I didn't want to paint the whole breed like that, and I knew that at the dog parks, shepherds were Hailey's favs. We went and met him. Our first meeting was a little disappointing. Hailey was completely not interested, likely because we were in a new place trying to force her to play with this strange dog. Zaphod was very quiet and calm. We left thinking maybe, but knowing even if it had been a yes, we were moving in a week so it would have to wait.
Day 4 in our new house, Zaphod was brought by his foster mom, Jenn, and Gloria for a second play date. This one went much better, and at the end we knew he was going to stay with us. We have never looked back; in fact, although it hasn't been three months yet, it feels like he has always been with us.
He truly is a gem and the best dog we have ever had. He is quiet, calm, and obedient. He tries so hard to make us happy. He loves to play fetch and swim in the lake. He can generally be trusted off leash (as long as the deer or foxes aren't in the yard), and if he does run out of sight usually runs back within one minute. He respects the cats and loves to play with Hailey. He is a very gentle soul despite a clear history of abuse (if you raise your voice to him or scold, he becomes unnecessarily nervous).
We believe after a few weeks of being with us, he did help Hailey either be less nervous, or so tired from all the playing she is less destructive.
We are truly grateful to have him as part of our pack and grateful to Catahoula Rescue who not only saved his life, but recognized he would be the perfect dog for us.
If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!