Last September I volunteered to transport some dogs confiscated from a Collin County puppy mill bust. After transporting one of them to Oklahoma I came back to the Collin County animal shelter to see who was left and found two very frightened dogs huddling together in one of the runs. One of them was scheduled to go to a rescue group in New Mexico. The other one was facing the needle if a home wasn't found very soon. We had to physically pry these two apart because they were wrapped around each other in fear, not wanting to be separated. After getting one of them on his way to New Mexico, only one frightened puppy mill dog was left. Texas Husky Rescue had already taken four. Several more had been shipped out around the country. This little guy was the only one left. Feeling sorry for this shaking little pup whose entire life was pulled out from under him, along with all of his brothers and sisters, I made a spit second decision to take him home with me.
I already had one foster dog. A very active young white female husky named Princess. But sometimes as a dog rescuer you just have to make a little more room to save the life of just one special dog. This guy was that special dog. After all, he was a beautiful black and white husky with blue eyes. How hard could a dog like this be to place?
On the way home he turned and started barking at me while we were driving through traffic. For the first ten minutes in the car he was frightened and tried to burrow himself down in the seat. Now suddenly he was up on the seat barking at me. It was almost like he was trying to tell me that he was just sick and tired of being shuffled from place to place and wanted to be back at the puppy mill again with his brothers and sisters. As bad as the place was, it was the only home he knew. By the time we were about five blocks from home, the dog finally emptied his bowels right on the nice clean seat of my car. Most of those contents were liquid due to the stress this poor dog was under. I will let you guess the rest, but it involved extensive cleanup to the car seat, carpet and front console.
When I finally put him through the front door, my Border Collie, Cody immediately bonded with this little husky. He followed him everywhere to make sure he was alright. Soon K2, my big female husky had befriended him as well, wanting to mother him like she always did with younger rescues I brought home. Soon my entire pack had met him, sniffed him and found him to be not only accepted, but protected.
As the weeks turned into months the new dog made himself at home at my place. At first he was afraid of me as he was all people, but he never met a dog he didn't like. He spent hours running and playing with the other dogs in my pack. Soon he started to connect with me. First he approached me out of curiosity because of my relationships with my other dogs. I guess he finally figured that if the other dogs in my pack were not afraid of me, then there was no reason for him to be. One morning I woke up to find this new dog in my bed pressed next to me. He looked up at me tentatively to see if it was ok for him to be there. I reached down slowly to pet his head and his blue eyes lit up.
Soon I started calling him Cherokee, after my old jeep. The one he always liked to ride in when we drove to the dog park. He went everywhere me and my dogs went. He expected to go. He was a part of my pack. Finally I felt he was ready to be adopted out and he went to a Fort Hood family for a trial run. The very next day I received a phone call from Cherokee's new owner. He would not stop barking and they were afraid the neighbors would complain. He started right after I left him there and barked all night long. I put Cody in the car with me and drove back to Fort Hood to retrieve him right then. He stopped barking as soon as I walked in the door and jumped into the car to see Cody.
There were several other attempts to place him with similar results. This guy simply didn't want to leave my pack. Finally we met with a potential new owner who had driven all the way down from Kansas. He was going to meet us at the Dog Bowl at the Cotton Bowl. I brought K2 along with us to enjoy the festivities at the Dog Bowl. I handed Cherokee off to his new owner and walked away with K2. He stared at us as we walked away. Suddenly he started barking and pulling towards us as we walked across the field. I ducked behind some vendor booths to get out of Cherokee's view and give him a chance to meet his new owner, but the little husky was having none of that. I could hear him barking even when I couldn't see him. K2 kept pulling in his direction, not understanding why we were leaving him behind with a stranger. The guy from Kansas was not happy and wanted to try out another dog from the Texas Husky Rescue site. Cherokee just wanted to go home. His home. My home. Our home. From this time forward, Cherokee was my dog. I wasn't planning on another dog, but here he was and he didn't want to be anywhere else. My other dogs didn't want him to be anywhere else either. He was a member of their pack now and always would be. This dog had found me. He had found us. He had found his home.
Links to the rest of Cherokee's story;