Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Willow's Story

Pet's name: Willow
Adopted by: Ruth and Chris
From: Noah's Ark Animal Welfare Association, Ledgewood, N.J.

Ruth (who blogs at Artful Creations by Ruth Welter) wrote the story of her dog, Willow. Ruth hopes that Willow's story will encourage others to adopt, and she is happy to answer any questions about her adoption experience by email.

My husband Chris and I adopted Willow in April of 2000 from Noah's Ark Animal Welfare Association in Ledgewood, N.J. We had just lost one of our Shih Tzus two weeks before, and while I wasn't in a rush to find another dog as a companion for my remaining Shih Tzu, Dudley, when it is right, you just know it. I found Willow on Petfinder, a wonderful site that lists dogs and cats available through different animal shelters and rescue groups. Even when I don't have a vacancy sign out by my house, I always find myself looking at the little souls listed on the Petfinder site. When I saw Willow's little face on that site, I knew we had to make the journey down to New Jersey to meet him.

The shelter asked that we bring our Shih Tzu (Dudley) so they could see our little guy and we could introduce him to Willow. Out from the back room comes Willow, the sweetest and friendliest little Tzu you would ever want to meet. He was found wondering the streets of NYC and ended up in a high-kill shelter there. Noah's Ark took him out to the country and gave him a better chance at finding a new home. The minute we saw him, we thought he would be the right addition to our family.

Since he was found wandering the streets, nothing was really known about Willow. He was thought at the time to be about five years old, blind in his left eye due to some sort of blunt trauma, and was not house-trained in the slightest in all his five years on the planet. He did however have the prettiest, sweetest face and the best personality we could have asked for. Someone at the shelter named him Willow and I loved that name, but most importantly, I thought it fit him perfectly, so "Willow" it was. In another week, when Willow was cleared to leave after his neuter surgery, we went back to pick him up and bring him back to live in New York.

 Amazingly, even though he had never received any house-training, he learned beautifully. We started by taking him outside, and when he did his potty in the yard, he received a cookie. I have to say that the lure of food made him catch on like a light. Before we knew it, he was perfectly potty-trained and has rarely ever had accidents in the house. I think he was definitely more attached to my husband Chris at first then he was to me, but we all bonded in no time flat, and that was the beginning of a long and happy life with all of us together.

Front to back: Orchid, Willow, and Dudley

In the fall of 2000 we added Orchid to our family and she became attached very quickly to Willow. I have to say, he wasn't too happy to meet her at first; she was a full-of-pep puppy that singled him out to be her future play companion. He decided he would be a little grumpy about the whole thing and just go in his crate and hope for the best, that she would just disappear. Not too far down the road from that first shaky meeting, Willow and Orchid became fast friends and play buddies.

Since the spring of 2000, Willow has lived happily with us and our two other dogs. I think by adopting him, we gave him a chance at happiness and he in turn has brought joy and happiness into our lives, just by being with us each day.

I would really encourage others to adopt through shelters and rescue groups; there are so many animals out there that need homes and you really can make a difference for a little life by adopting from one of these organizations.

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!


  1. Hi kate,

    Thank you for posting Willow's story...I hope it will inspire others to consider adoption from a shelter or rescue group.


  2. Well, thank YOU for sharing! I hope it does, too.


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