Joey’s Journey: Shelter dog goes from stray to samaritan

I was going through some old files and found a copy of this article that was written about my dog, Joey.

Joey’s Journey: Shelter dog goes from stray to samaritan

By MITCHELL PETTY

They say that every dog has his day. For Joey, that day came in December 2010 when, against all odds, he was adopted from the Bedford County Animal Shelter  Joey, a yellow lab, was brought in to the shelter as a stray. Looking back, that might have been a godsend in itself.  How could that be?

Hands to paws – Brenda Goodrich, director of Bedford County Animal Control is very active in the “re-homing” of animal occupants, using websites like Petfinder.com and programs such as PetSmart’s Rescue Waggin’.  She’s even come up with a nickname for the shelter, tributing its rescuing nature: “The Doggie Underground Railroad.”  Joey came to find a new home through Goodrich’s efforts on Petfinder.com, and his adoption story is one that she’s very fond of.  Shirley Thaler of Harvest, Ala., had recently suffered the passing of her longtime canine cohort of 14 years, Brownie, and was in the market for another pup. She came across a picture of Joey, and that was it.

Picture tells story – “Joey’s picture popped up and he had this big, goofy grin,” Thaler says. “He just looked so happy and friendly. Shelbyville’s about two hours away, but Joey’s picture stuck with me so I decided to call and see if he was still available.”  Joey and his ever-smiling mug were still waiting, so Thaler took a day off from work — kindly granted by her animal-loving boss — to drive to Shelbyville. Joey’s lucky day had finally come.  The beginning of Thaler and Joey’s relationship was not as peachy as the story of their fateful meeting, however. There was no denying that Joey was an exceptionally hyper animal.

Wild, crazy guy – “He was buck wild when I got him,” Thaler says.  As it turns out, Joey was a tornado of destruction, tearing up everything he could get his teeth on. He was even a threat to himself.  “I asked the vet to put him on tranquilizers for his own protection,” says Thaler. Evidently Joey had a knack for running into things without looking. One night, he ran into a low branch, cutting his eyelid and scratching his cornea.  Eventually, Thaler signed Joey up for doggie day care, where he ended up getting suspended.  “I thought that was kind of stupid,” Thaler says. “I thought, ‘is he going to sit at home and contemplate what he did wrong?'” A week later, Joey was expelled.  It took Thaler two more tries at obedience schools to find the right fit for Joey. This came at the facilities of Steve Russell in Toney, Ala., where Joey was trained for a year.

Calmer demeanor – Albeit still energetic, Joey progressed into being a much more manageable companion. So much so that Thaler enrolled Joey at Kind Hearts Behavior Center in Huntsville.  Now, Joey is on track to become a therapy-certified dog. And Thaler and Goodrich couldn’t be more proud.  Joey has made a few trips to rehabilitation centers to visit with patients, picked up litter with Thaler at Adopt a Mile.  One could even say that Joey’s first therapy work was done with his owner.  “They always say that you should find a dog that matches your personality, and there is definitely some merit to that,” explains Thaler. “But with Joey and I, we were exact opposites. I really think that has made my life a lot better, because now I’m active in the community and meeting new people.”  It’s all too rare that stray animals who wind up in shelters are able to find good, loving homes … and even more uncommon that they are able to make a positive impact on their community, such as Joey has. Goodrich hopes that Joey’s story encourages more adopters to gear their searches toward shelters like hers.

Happy ending – “Most of our strays aren’t bad dogs, they’ve just had bad owners,” Goodrich says. “I’m so proud of how Shirley’s done with Joey. They’re just such a great adoption story.”  As for Thaler, she’s glad that she endured Joey’s early growing pains.  “In the beginning we had our differences, but I’m really glad that I stuck it out with him because he is so friendly and affectionate,” Thaler says.  Joey’s journey from stray to samaritan hasn’t been an easy one. But in the end, he’s found a new home and Shirley Thaler has found a new best friend.

© Copyright 2012, Shelbyville Times-Gazette Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why I Admire Dogs

I was watching my dogs play and thinking about how they were rescued.

Norton was living behind a dumpster.  Buddy was found as a puppy in a box with his siblings and they had been abandoned.  Joey and Blue were both strays found on the side of the road.  Most of them exhibited signs of abuse.

With time, each dog discovered this would be their forever home.  They would always be loved and have plenty of food.  As they relaxed and grew comfortable in their new home, their true personalities began to shine through.

They all live in the moment and never dwell on their past.  They are happy and care free.  I admire them for that ability.

Happy Birthday Buddy

Buddy and his siblings had been abandoned as new born puppies.  They were taken to a veterinarian hospital in Mobile, Alabama.  The puppies received medical treatment and care until they were old enough to be adopted.

Gwen’s dog T-Bone had recently passed away and she missed having a canine companion.  Arrangements were made for Buddy to be transported to Huntsville, Alabama.

Buddy has become a wonderful friend and companion to Gwen.  He also gets along great with the other Thaler dogs.  Buddy is friendly, caring, energetic, and intelligent.  He is a wonderful dog and is loved by everyone.

Today, Buddy turns 3 years old.  Of course we had a special doggy birthday cake and all of the dogs got a new toy.

Happy Birthday Buddy

Congratulations Little Boy Blue

Today is Little Boy Blue’s third adoption anniversary.  Blue is an amazing dog.  He excels in all his training classes.  He is a great traveling companion.  He has a strong nurturing instinct, which drives him to look after and protect his brothers.  He is loyal, friendly, and loves to play.

Happy Adoption Anniversary Little Boy Blue

Rescuing a Bee

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Various flying insects land in the puppy pool and since they can’t get out, they drown.  If I find one that is still alive, I will rescue the poor soul.

The other day, I found a bee in the pool.  It was desperately trying to get out of the water.  I put my hand in the pool, slowly moved under the bee, and lifted it out of the water.  Then I took the bee to a safe place for it to dry off and rest, while it recovered from the ordeal.

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This wasn’t my first bee rescue and if you are wondering do I ever get stung.  The answer is yes.  However, I don’t blame the bee and I continue to rescue them.

I am the Bee Rescuer.  🙂

Joey – In the Beginning

Joey is a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix that I rescued six or seven years ago.  He is in the geriatric phase of life now, so he spends a lot of time sleeping.  Joey is still happy, outgoing dog, and loves to play; however, he gets tired much faster and needs a longer time to recover.

Joey’s life story is filled with humor and I think you will enjoy reading about him.  I decided to do a short blog series to tell the story of Joey.

The story starts with my previous dog Brownie.  He had cancer and passed away one month shy of his 14th birthday.

I lived alone at the time, so without Browine the house felt empty.  A friend recommended the PetFinder website.  I scrolled through the pictures of homeless dogs, but my heart was broken and I was not interested in any of the dogs.

The next day, I was stumbled upon a picture of a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix.  He was at the pound in Shelbyville, Tennessee.  He had a goofy grin on his face.  He looked happy, even though his living situation was not that great.  I could tell from the picture this dog has a good heart.

I called the shelter and asked about the dog.  The poor boy had already been there a month.  I left work early that day and drove two hours to get my new dog.

When I arrived, I told a shelter worker which dog I wanted to adopt.  I was taken to a yard and the dog was brought out, so we could get acquainted with each other.

As soon as the dog saw me, he ran and leaped upward at me.  His massive frame slammed into me and just about knocked me off my feet.  His tail was wagging at break neck speed and he was drooling all over the place.  I smiled and told the worker, I wanted to adopt the dog.

We went into the office and I started filling out the paperwork, while the worker was sitting in the waiting room with the dog.  There was a young boy also sitting in the waiting room and he started petting my new dog and then he decided to drape his whole body across my dog’s back.  The dog just looked at the boy and wagged his tail.

I felt reassured that this dog had a great personality and would make a great pet.  I finished my paperwork, loaded the dog into my SUV, and we drove home.

I got home and started thinking about what to name the dog.  I watched as he explored his new home.  He was running around and having such a great time.  He was also jumping a lot.  He was jumping side to side, jumping forward, jumping backward, and jumping just to be jumping.  I decided to name him Joey (like a baby kangaroo).

I had no idea what kind of havoc Joey was about to bring into my world.

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