Last June, 2002, a husky mix found me in a park where I had stopped to rest while cycling. At first, I thought she was very old, as she was rather lethargic and sad looking. Upon closer inspection I realized that she was very pregnant and, probably, quite young--and collarless. She appeared a sweet, friendly dog patiently waiting for whomever left her there to return and take her home.
I hoped beyond hope that a lady who lived near the park would assure me that she was the owner, but this was not to be. The woman told me that there had been a family party, at the park, the day before, and, when the people left, the dog remained. I was not in the market for a dog (we had to have our own sweet, old dog put down just a few months before), but there was just something about this one. I told the lady that I would cycle the eleven miles home and drive back for her. If she was still there, I would take her. If not, well, it was just fate. (Personally, I think the lady made sure the dog would still be there!)
I pedaled the distance home, made an appointment with my vet, and picked up the dog. The vet's assessment was ". . .healthy, but far along with puppies." I have never had puppies, am not equipped for puppies, and still not in the market for one dog--let alone a pack. Yet I couldn't imagine taking her to a shelter.
I took her home and talked with my husband. I phoned the local vets, animal shelters, and animal control agencies to put out the word of what I had. No one, of course, phoned to claim her.
Less than a week later, we were the proud grandparents of four healthy pups. And so my summer was completely consumed with helping to raise our brood. I cannot say I fully enjoyed the process, as I lived in constant worry that we wouldn't be able to find good homes for them. I am an animal lover, and my animals are family. They are fed well, exercised daily, played with, petted, talked to, and loved in every way possible. I know that many animals end up in homes that can be the exact opposite. I couldn't bear the thought of these little ones experiencing the harshness that life can and does offer.
Luckily, with the help of my vet and dear, close friends, by the beginning of August, the puppies were placed in homes far above my expectations. I was so pleased. I hear from the owners, infrequently, and all seems to be going well with everyone.
Thus Shia (named after the Shiatown Park at which we met) and I began our training journey. She has the exact personality traits as those described on your web site. I found a clicker trainer who trains service dogs for Paws With A Cause, here in Michigan, and, oh, the fun we have had! Shia is, now, in intermediate agility training, and, recently, we started training for therapy work at the local nursing homes and hospitals. She visits her pals at the dog park, weekly, and assures that I take my daily walks. Her intelligence is scary, at times, and she has amassed a number of wonderful tricks that she enjoys showing off. I couldn't have asked for a better companion. I feel blessed that she found me. :)