Wags and Wiggles
This page is devoted to stories of New Spirit adoptees and their human families, and we welcome updates to be featured here.
Kelsey and Moose's Adoption Journey
About a year ago, I adopted Moose by accident. I was looking to adopt a second dog, yes. But I was looking at a different dog, when I got a call that said, "We just got a new dog into our rescue, and we think he'll be a good fit for you." Great, I'm sure they know best.
Let me preface this by saying that I had exactly no experience with rescue at this point. I got Tuna from a breeder. My parents rescued a puppy before I was born, but by the time I remembered her, she was a great family dog. I had no idea the work that goes into training and healing and loving a damaged dog. Basically, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Spoiler alert: a lot of frustration but even more accomplishments/reward/love/etc.
So, a year ago, I went to pick Moose up, and immediately he's like "hmm...nope" and pancakes on the ground. The foster had to carry him to the car. Apparently he HATES the car. Well, that's okay, I thought. I'm a pretty strong person physically, so I think I can carry a 45 pound dog to the car. Plot twist, Moose becomes a wet noodle when you pick him up, so you have to be quick about it. Well, that's okay I'll figure it out. At least he doesn't throw up in the car. That would be the worst case scenario. Turns out, the worst case scenario happens a week later when Moose jumps out of the car window as soon as you park and runs into the woods of North Carolina. The worst case scenario is diving on the ground for his leash after 20 minutes of inching closer and closer to him, knowing full well if you miss the leash, you will never see this dog again.
Back to adoption day. We're finally at his new home, and I can tell he's not thrilled. Is it true that rescued dogs know when they've been adopted? We didn't have that ~moment~ that you see so often on social media. That moment when the dog goes flying down the hallway of the pound or wiggles uncontrollably around their new owner, who is proudly smiling or laughing or shedding a happy tear. We didn't have that. We had the opposite: a quiet, begrudging acceptance of new circumstances on his part and a reserved excitement on my part. I don't think he came within three feet of me for the first week.
About a month later, we traveled to Massachusetts for a funeral and to be with family. He did exceptionally well with my mom and my sister, but was wary of my dad. However, being that my dad was definitely a dog in a past life, he was able to get Moose to trust him a little bit. But the moment he saw my brother, my sweet and gentle Moose growled loudly and tried to crawl under the couch. Every time my brother passed, he growled or barked. It just about crushed my brother, but it was a trend I started to notice.
Moose never forgets anything. To this day, he remembers exactly which framed photo slipped off the dresser and scared him about six months ago, and he gives it a glance every time he walks by it. So it was no surprise to me that he can differentiate between men in their 20's (my brothers age) and all others. By the way he cowers and becomes generally fearful, we think a man in his 20's definitely abused my poor dog. And that just about crushed me. Look at his face. How could someone do that to him? When I realized that, my whole relationship with Moose changed.
I used to think that Moose was a difficult dog. He had all these problems--scared of men, hates the leash, really hates the car, skittish--but I couldn't figure out why. I'm ashamed to say it, but I thought about giving him back almost every day for that first month. I didn't think I was able to fix him. I still get emotional every time I think about it. Once we put the pieces together, I realized that it wasn't my job to "fix" him; it's my job to love him enough to let him fix himself. It's my job to not give up on him, like every person had in the past.
Thankfully, slowly, very slowly, Moose came out of his shell. He still is to this day. He's best friends with my dad and is doing better on the leash every day. After months of hesitation, he goes up to my brother now for pets and kisses. And he makes us all laugh every day. I'm so glad I didn't give up on him, and I'm proud of that fact because if I had given up, I would have missed out on this absolute angel of a dog.
I can't believe it's been almost a year already. Moosey, I love you with all my heart, and I promise that you will have love, happiness, a full belly and a brother to wrestle with for the rest of your days.
Tucker and the Shoemaker Family
I have been wanting a dog forever and for me it can only be an Aussie or a Sheltie. I grew up with them and just have an absolute love for the breed. After a particularly bad experience with a breeder, my husband insisted that we get a rescue dog. All of his pets have been rescue dogs and they have been wonderful - so I agreed and set out to find an Aussie Rescue. I went through group after group looking for the right pup for us, but almost always I was second in line to get the dog we were interested in. After about 6 months of doing this, I connected with NS4AR. I'd actually tried to connect with them from the very beginning, but for some reason, we never made it work. On a particular night in October 2017, I was finally able to connect with an NS4AR representative in order to go through the vetting process. After completing that, she told me to look in the "coming attractions" section of the website to find a dog we wanted. While we were still on the phone, I did this and saw "Old Dan Tucker" who's owner had passed away. He was a mini-aussie and he just seemed to be the right fit for us. You can't imagine my delight when the representative said that at that moment, he was considered ours and no other person would be able to adopt him until we decided officially one way or the other.
After that, the representative connected me with the foster mom, Karen Johnson. She and I talked on the phone and then started exchanging emails. She was incredibly detailed in how Tucker was progressing after his shock of losing his person and going through this traumatic time in his life. She was kind and wonderful and really thoughtful in her responses. After a few weeks of updates, she started sending pictures. At this point I knew that Tucker was the right dog for us. So, once we got cleared to adopt him on Friday, November 3, 2017 - which was 2 days before my own birthday - i grabbed my husband straight from work that Friday and we drove from Burke, VA to Pennsylvania (I'm not exactly sure where, but it was at least a 3 hour drive...) in heavy traffic to get him. We wanted to make sure he'd like us as much as we liked him. Turns out - he did like us and we've been a family ever since!
I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE this dog! Tucker was 8 years old when we adopted him, but he still looks like a puppy and is just the perfect dog - relaxed and low-key inside and fun and energetic outside. He did take a little time to adjust to his new surroundings but he has made it clear that I am his person (much to my husband's disappointment). Still, he's just such a good dog. Always my shadow, he keeps me in constant company no matter where I am. He's learned to play with other dogs, loves playing in the snow and is amazing on the lead. Oh - and he's SO handsome! He gets complements wherever we go and was even in your calendar this year!
I should tell you that last December I got an email from Karen Johnson - Tucker's foster mom. She just wanted to check-up on how Tucker was doing one year in. I can't begin to tell you how awesome that was for us. I recommend NS4AR to anyone looking for a dog because of how wonderful everyone is with their dogs.
Read about how Rosie found her unlikely happy ending with Allison and family in Chattanooga, TN
When I contacted NS4AR last summer, our family was in mourning. A few weeks earlier, we'd lost our beautiful, incredibly smart female red merle, Louie, to cancer. She was only six years old. I felt disloyal looking for another dog so soon, and I knew that we could never replace Louie. But I had to do something. Our weird little Aussie-potato mix, Ollie, was refusing to eat or even come out from under the kitchen table. He was clearly grieving, as was my husband, who couldn't talk about Louie without welling up. Louie had pretty much run the household, and after she died, her powerful presence became a powerful absence.
I'd found another beautiful female red merle on the NS4AR website, and after reading about her strong personality, I knew she was the right dog for us. I filled out an application, went through phone interviews, gave references, and was told our family passed all the screenings with flying colors. There was only one problem: An equally qualified family wanted to adopt the same dog, and they could give her more room to run than we could with our postage-stamp yard in Chattanooga. It was suggested that we adopt another spirited female, Rosie, who was smaller and would need less room.
I'll be honest—I was heartbroken. The whole family was. We studied pictures of Rosie, who didn't have the gorgeous coloring Aussies are known for. (With her large, erect ears and black and tan markings, she actually reminded me of a very delicately built German shepherd.) We also knew that we were being superficial. (You tend to bask in vicarious glory when you take your dog for a walk and regularly hear "Beautiful dog!")
So, we drove down to Atlanta to get Rosie, who—suffice it to say—has personality that does not translate in photos. She's ridiculously cute. She has tan eyebrows that make her look a little apologetic, and like several members of our family, she has freckles on her legs.
Within a week of Rosie joining the family, Ollie was back to his old self, relieved to have an alpha female to boss him around. My husband immediately broke his longstanding rule about no dogs on the couch. I have allowed him to believe that Rosie likes him best. I'll admit, she goes along with it pretty well.
Having adopted many rescues, I can also say that Rosie is the only one we've ever had with zero emotional baggage. She has no behavioral issues. She's happy 24/7. She loves everyone. We walk her downtown every day, and while we don't hear "Beautiful dog!" quite so often, we hear "Awwwwww!" all the time because she makes eye contact with every person we pass, hoping for a pat or a belly rub. It usually works.
Also, our postage-stamp yard is perfect for Rosie because her exercise is primarily vertical. She can chew a plastic Frisbee into a ninja death star in five minutes, so we bought some small Kong discs made of rubber. They're indestructible, and she carries one in her mouth all day long, on the off chance that someone's up for a game. That usually works too.
So this is a story with a sad beginning and a happy ending—for Rosie and for us. We are very grateful.
Read about how Karen + Kevin gave a loving adoptive home to their fosters, Riversong and Bitty B
Riversong came into our home due to a breeder seizure, shortly before Thanksgiving 2017. When I picked her to foster I was shocked to see a bluish /gray eye that was too large for her eyelid to close over and as we found out later very painful and no viable sight. This was not her only health concern, she had a low body weight and a UTI, she came down with a cough in less than 72 hours. We made an appointment for the only close Ophthalmologist near us. The Dr. was furious at the condition of both eyes but that left eye was barely viable and would have to be removed. We were hustled over quickly to the emergency vet for blood work and x-rays to determine what was going on with her lungs. Pneumonia. We had to take her to our vet as we had just had her a few days and were to get her on a super strong antibiotic to clear up. Because she was a seizure she had been fully vetted and spayed , but due to her neglect it took a month and more blood work in order to clear.
Riversong was barely with us, coaxing her to eat , loving on her and speaking softly and finally she emerged as a loving dog . She has her quirks, but was finally able to have that much needed painful eye removed. We had been giving her eye drops since seeing the ophthalmologist and the little dog stood ever so patiently awaiting what must have been relief to having an eye with Glaucoma, a lens that had already had moved, and a cataract. (Glaucoma is manageable with treatment) . She endured headaches and pain a long time from the pressures that go up within the eye. The other eye would need surgery too as it had a loose lens and a cataract and continued drops.
By Spring we had a happy little girl waiting to be adopted. We had interest, but because of her limited vision and the eventual need for surgery, she would need the right adopter. We found a semi retired couple who we thought was just right. Our own vet, family and friends thought we should adopt her, but we had our own dog who was 16 ish and on her own barrage of medicine. My husband and I had agreed we would only foster from here on.
We adopted out River and shortly after we had to let our own girl go. We had no foster in the house and were used to a full house and the silence was unbearable. I reached out to Laura who I had met to get River, and was my mentor when we started with New Spirit. She reached out to Pam and she had a foster that was also a breeder that was 12, that she thought would appreciate a quieter household. Bitty B was from a breeder who took very good care of her, but was downsizing, and Bitty immediately adopted "me".
River's adopters' dog decided River had overstayed her welcome (they had been introduced and no fights ever took place), and tearfully her adopters returned her (they loved her). When we went to bring her back to our home we were sitting in the adopters' living room (we truly liked them), River realized we were there and came over and started (what I call "schnizzerling ") I made that word up! She rocked her head back and forth and rubbed her chin on me soliciting for attention. The adopters even said how happy she was and we took her home after tears. River's relief at returning was unmistakable.
Bitty B. was welcoming to River right off the bat. She has continued to be so for the past year. My husband came to me a week later on a Saturday morning (before my morning coffee) and said "we are adopting the girls". We filled in the adoption paperwork and I emailed and let everyone know. Bitty B. treats River as a puppy and is aware of her limitations (both visual and skills/quirks).
Last year shortly after adopting both girls, I had set up Bitty's "get to know wellness vet check" and a week before I was rubbing her tum and made a horrible discovery, two hard tumors. My heart sank. I called the vet immediately and when we went in, the vet tech agreed. We scheduled surgery and when he got in there there were "A LOT" of small tumors, deep into the pectoral muscles. Thankfully they had not spread to the lymph nodes. She is 13 1/2 now, doing fine, and we love her. She mostly loves me - it is all about "Mama Mama Mama". She is protective of me and slow to warm up to people.
River had surgery on her remaining eye on June 4th. She is home and, after two separate pr-eye tests, we learned that the lens had deteriorated, a cataract had formed, and that they could remove the lens but not replace it. She has sight and many eye drops at this point. We have two follow-ups a week, and this will be our schedule for at least a month.
We are very happy with our two girls and all of their quirks. Everyone was right, both girls are where they should be and everyone in New Spirit has been wonderful. The dogs too, from our first foster, through to these little girls. Hopefully, we will be fostering again by the fall at the latest. (I forgot to mention Bitty doesn't like to share "Mama".)
Karen & Kevin
Read about Maisie's transformation from being hit by a car to an active member of the Edge family!
We adopted Meekah two years ago, after she had gotten hit by a car and broke her pelvis. Prior to adoption, we had been in contact with NS4AR about finding the perfect pup for our family. As soon as NS4AR heard about Meekah, they called us and told us about her and we knew instantly that she was the perfect fit. She was located in North Carolina, about 10 hours from us. NS4AR and their volunteers all worked to get her to Georgia, where we met her and brought her to her forever home.
Upon arrival, Meekah was a few days post surgery from her broken pelvis. She came with medicine and a therapy plan, which we followed daily. We were told that there was chance she'd never be able to run again but she didn't accept that, so she worked hard and now she is as good as new! Her name was changed to Maisie and she is now almost 3!
She brings so much joy to our family - she is the definition of a princess, and she has the personality of a diva! She loves to be active, whether it's going on long walks, playing outside or chasing squirrels! Her favorite thing is to ride in the boat; however, she recently learned to swim but is not too sure about it. She now has a sister pup, who is a German Shorthaired Pointer, and the two are inseparable. Rescuing Maisie from NS4AR was the best decision our family made!
Learn about how Dax went from an uncertain pup to a valued member of the Whitecar family
Our family loves dogs. We are the type of family that will talk about a cute dog we saw earlier that day. (Ex: Ooooh, I saw a super cute cattle dog today. Oh yeah, I saw a border collie). Our favorite dogs to spot are corgis and Australian Shepherds. We just love the energy and personality of these breeds. We already have a Corgi and Shiba Inu, so we didn't know if we really wanted a third dog. But you know how when you look something up on the Internet and an algorithm causes advertisements to appear on other websites you visit? Well, that's what happened to us, but with Aussies: a merle at the dog park, a red one taking a walk with its person, sitting with its owner at the coffee shop etc. So we began to research the breed more and seriously think about welcoming another dog into the family. We knew we wanted a rescue dog because our Shiba Inu is a rescue and we get a lot of satisfaction providing him with a safe and happy home.
After looking around on the Internet we came across New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue and filled in the application. The first dog we inquired about had already found a home, but after about a month I got an e-mail about a couple of pups in our area. After looking at the photos, we decided to meet Sookie and her foster mom. Sookie had been born on a farm where she'd been allowed to run wild and was shy and uncertain around people. When we first met her, she kept close to her foster parents and had to be held by a leash before we could pet her. My 8- year-old son loved her instantly and she warmed up to him a bit. We made arrangements to pick her up for a trial period.
When we got her home she was scared of doorways. She went outside well, but wouldn't come back in the house. She scarfed her food down in a panic, and was a bit too rough with our other dogs. But we were always able to keep in touch with a rep from NS4AR and the foster mom, who gave us advice and help. After a couple of months Sookie, who we re-named Dax, had started to become part of the family. She is very cuddly, patient, and loves to play with my son. My husband and son were in love. I was less convinced because it was winter and I didn't enjoy freezing my butt off trying to coax her back inside. But when my son said he wanted Dax to have a home for Christmas, how could I say no. We started the adoption process and never felt pressured or rushed into things. The rescue even continued to provide flea and heart-worm medication until the adoption was finalized. I'm happy to say that Dax, while still shy around strangers, has come a long way. She is best friends with the Corgi and napping buddies with our Shiba. She loves taking walks to get my son from school and playing fetch in the yard with him. As for me, Dax has won me over with her sweetness and energy. We are so glad we have Dax in our family and thankful for the support we received from NS4AR!
Ernie, now Auggie, gave his adopters a scare when he ran off, but thankfully everyone got a happy ending!
My wife and I have had dogs since we were first married in 1971. We had four Collie rescues until our last died in June 2018 at age 15.
We started our search after waiting a few months and used Petfinder pretty much all the time hoping for another rescue. We saw the pictures at New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue and put in an application with no previous knowledge of Aussies. We were lucky enough to talk with Donna Fogle, and after a long, one-hour plus telephone interview, we were approved. Three months later Donna called to say that Ernie was being fostered in Brick, NJ, about 30 minutes from our home in Manalapan, NJ. We picked him up on Monday, September 17th. We arrived home around 5pm and felt very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of his life.
I unfortunately decided to change the Martingale collar that Ernie came with and on the second day, September 18th at the end of our evening walk he backed out of the collar and ran off. We searched late into the night but could not find him. The next day my wife and I searched all day and I put out flyers with his picture and listed him on the Internet with several dog lost sites. Nothing! Late in the second day I got a call from a woman who had seen the lost poster and suggested we put out some food near the house. The next day around 11am I called Donna to give her the bad news and at that very moment my wife yelled to me that Ernie was in the yard. I cannot express how grateful we were to have him back and our gratitude to everyone for helping us out.
He is just the best companion and every day we appreciate him more and more; he's now known as Auggie or Auger.
Regards, Jane & Gary
Read about how Teddy found his perfect home with Abby and Shayne of Philadelphia, PA.
We adopted Teddy (formerly Lonnie) almost a year ago exactly. We were both graduating with our Masters that same week. Teddy was super shy when we first went to meet him but for some reason I was hooked even though he wouldn't get close enough for me to pet him. I can't really explain it given our crazy circumstances at the time. Call it divine intervention. Everything just seemed to fall into place. We put in an application, had an interview, and our interviewer suggested that we check out this dog being fostered nearby even though he was still a "coming attraction."
We brought Teddy home and gave him a quilt to sleep on as we had not yet found a dog bed big enough for him. He laid down on the quilt and would not get up unless you put the leash on him. Then he would reluctantly leave the safety of the quilt to go outside to pee. Shayne would lay down on the floor next to him and gently pet him.
One year later: What a transformation. Teddy caught on very quickly that we were his people. I remember very clearly the first time he hopped up in bed with me to nap; it took a couple weeks. Now he greets me every morning by hopping up on the bed and collapsing onto me to cuddle. Morning cuddle sessions are his favorite, second to going on adventures with my fiancé and me. He loves to hike and go to the dog park or even just take a stroll through the neighborhoods. He loves running into water...but he does not love baths or to swim. He is very particular about water.
Teddy is still a little shy around new people but is much faster to relax and let people pet him. It only takes a couple minutes. It's even faster when his best dog friends are around to show him how its done. Teddy loves pets and snuggles he just needs a short adjustment period. When we first got him, we would give neighbors on the street a treat to give to him just to show him that people can be good. Now he goes right up and sniffs people looking for a treat.
I started medical school last fall and everyone said how much of a burden a dog would be during this. They never mentioned how much joy a dog gives. Teddy keeps me grounded in the face of exams, forces me to go outside with him, and gives me and Shayne endless, unconditional love. Except when we give him a bath. Then he goes and pouts while sending us looks of betrayal. He still sleeps on the quilt, casually ignoring the expensive dog bed, and greets us every morning with kisses...because he's got to pee and you should be up by now hooman.
Abby + Shayne (who also adopted a 2nd NS dog Adelaide (formerly Eclair) in August 2019!