Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast
My niece walking my 110 pound Rottweiler, Mickey, many years ago. Mickey would normally drag anyone walking her, but she just knew to be gentle with my niece.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Heaven Sent

No one knows exactly where the black and tan dog came from.  All that was known was that he was found trotting down the middle of a dirt road somewhere west of Bozeman, Montana in the spring of 2000.  Who knows how long he had been out on his own or how many cars might have gone by him till one finally stopped and offered the dog a ride, delivering him to the Humane Society of Gallatin Valley?  The male dog wasn’t big but he wasn’t small either; perhaps, as far as dogs go, he could have been considered large on the medium side of things.  His black and tan markings, combined with a calm, confident demeanor, made it clear he had a good helping of Rottweiler in him.  He was kept in the stray side of the shelter for the standard five days, yet nobody came looking for the mysterious pup.  At the end of the holding period he was moved to the adoption pens and named Adonis, given how handsome all the staff found him.  He took to his name as if he was born with it and settled into shelter life with no stress nor concerns. 

Adonis shortly after he arrived at the shelter.
Given that he was a Rott mix, I added him to the list of dogs I walked during my lunch hour, and we quickly became good pals.  So much so that, when he was the only Rottie there, I would take him for a drive and a hike, followed by a cheeseburger.  For over a year Adonis lived at the shelter with no one showing interest in adopting him.  None of us could understand this apparent disinterest because Adonis was intelligent, athletic, and friendly with other dogs and most people.  We resigned ourselves to the fact that it had to be the ‘most people’ part that prevented his adoption.  You see, I learned quickly that Adonis didn’t like kids, especially if they held something that looked like a weapon.  He didn’t become aggressive, he just grew visibly nervous and would give warning barks.  It was enough of a concern that we decided to limit which homes he would be allowed to go to.  As much as I hoped Adonis would find his forever home, I did enjoy my time with him and, unlike most dogs, his extended stay at the shelter seemed to have no adverse impact on his health nor his mental well-being.  Still, I wondered why no one had adopted him. 

My answer came in a very unexpected way that summer.  On a quiet weekend, in the middle of June, 2001, a vile person attempted to abduct a young girl from a home in Belgrade, a small town just west of Bozeman.  The brave young lady was able to stave off her attacker.  In frustration, he left her home, only to go to another home from which he abducted a nine-year-old girl, assaulting her and releasing her three hours later.  Thankfully, the man was arrested a few days later, but that didn’t quell the fear that had arisen in the county.  I knew this because I began receiving several calls a day from people wanting to adopt a Rottweiler in order to increase the security of their homes and families.   One call will forever be one I remember.  It was the call that I, and Adonis, had been waiting for.
It was the staff at the shelter who called me that day.  I had just gotten home from work and was trying to let my dogs out back and prepare their dinner.  The staff person told me that a family wanted to adopt Adonis since their daughter was afraid after the recent abduction.  I assumed it was like all the rest of the calls that week and asked if the family had young kids.  The staff said the family did have young kids and that, in fact, they ran a daycare out of their home.  I shook my head as I told the staff that Adonis couldn’t go to a home with small children. 

“I know, but the mom is very set on Adonis.  Would you just talk with them?”  I could hear the frustration in the staff person’s voice.  I agreed and waited a moment as the phone was passed to the hopeful family member, a woman who was polite but who also had a confident and intent tone.  She explained to me that they felt Adonis would be a good protector for their home.  This is not something you want to hear as a rescue person, since it often means the dog will either be relegated to being an outdoor dog or, worse, trained to be aggressive.  I resorted to my normal script, explaining that we didn’t adopt out guard dogs. 

“Did they explain our situation?” the mom interrupted.

“Yes, they told me that your daughter was afraid after recent events, just like a lot of families are,” I said in a less than sympathetic tone.

“No, our daughter is the one the man first tried to abduct.”

I grasped the gravity of the situation and realized I had put my foot in my mouth a bit with my insensitive attitude. Still, the truth of their situation didn’t change certain unnegotiable items. I explained to the woman that Adonis wasn’t good with kids, to which she quickly replied,
“Really, then why is he here in the lobby with my four kids, playing with them and giving them licks?” 

I didn’t know what to say and asked to talk to the staff again, asking if what the mom had said was true.  The staff confirmed that it was.  I had only one more card to play and that was to let the family know that, because he was a Rottweiler mix, a home check was required prior to adoption.  They asked if I could come over that night, to which I agreed.  It was apparent that they really wanted Adonis.

When I arrived at their home, I was greeted by the family - mom and dad, three boys, and a very withdrawn girl.  Most of my talking was with the parents, and it was then that I began realizing that this home was meant for Adonis. I became fully convinced, however, when I heard that, while at the shelter earlier that day, the young girl had walked down the rows of kennels in the adoption room, stopped at Adonis’ cage and said, “This is the one.”  The following is the girl’s own words regarding her first encounter with Adonis:

My first memory of Adonis is easy to recall. He was sitting there. He didn't bark. He looked at me. And it's like he said, "I've got you". He was behind a chainlink gate in his kennel, and I remember feeling panicked that he was there. I felt my stomach rise in my throat. I knew I had to get him out. It felt like ages until the worker opened the gate and brought him to me. I remember she said, "Sometimes he can pull". I took the leash, and that leads me to my second memory. I remember watching his tail wag as he walked. His black and brown markings swayed from side to side in front of me. But everyone watched in amazement because he wasn't actually pulling on the lead. He was just walking... walking... walking... and then he'd stop and look back, like he was making sure I was still there, or okay. I knew he was mine. I just knew it. I can't describe how I knew, but I felt it, like it was vibrating inside me. And for the first time in three days I felt happy. I felt safe. I knew I wasn't ever going to be in any danger again. Adonis was there for me.

With those new details, Adonis’s exemplary behavior around their children when they visited him at the shelter, and after completing my home check, I approved the adoption. 

Adonis guarding the bed as usual.
In the weeks that followed, I received regular phone calls from the family letting me know how amazing Adonis was.  From the moment he had come into their home, he had been the young girl’s shadow.  If she went into the bathroom, he laid right outside the door.  If she went in her room, he was on the bed with her.  For the first few days, they had to keep the hall lights on because Adonis would be aggressive with anyone he couldn’t identify if they dared to climb the stairs.  This was all fine with the family, mainly because for the first time since their daughter had nearly been abducted, she felt safe enough to sleep in her own room.  She did, after all, have a seventy-five-pound dog as her personal bodyguard now. 

The issue of Adonis being bad with kids during his stay at the shelter.  Well, that proved to be a non-issue at his new home.  Quite the contrary.  Instead, he was very protective of them, much to the approval of the parents, including the dad who had decided to chase his kids around his truck acting like a bear.  Adonis had rushed out barking and put himself between the dad and the kids, causing the dad to stop his growling as Adonis defended the little ones.  Adonis’ owners were, at first, fearful that the dad would be angry.  In fact, he was thankful that Adonis was so protective of the kids. 
The best therapist is a loving dog.
For eight years Adonis was not only the guardian of the daycare but he was the ever-present shadow of the girl who had adopted him as she grew into a young woman. 

He was medicine for me. For the first time in a while I actually slept in my own room. I was finally motivated to wander away from my parents; I wanted to walk Adonis and I knew I didn't need them to come with me. I took him everywhere. I remember one time my dad took me to Old Navy not too long after the attempted abduction. I took Adonis. He was a companion dog, so he went into the store with us. I ended up losing my dad in the store somehow and the quick panic set in. I felt my blood run hot, my hands became clammy, my breathing was quick, and tears threatened my eyes. I began to try and run, but Adonis stood fast. I stayed with him, knowing he was my support. My Dad came around the corner just a few seconds later.
I was encouraged by my counselors, doctors, mental health professionals, and my parents to try and be as independent as I could and to use my dog as a tool for success, not a reason to seclude myself. I remember one time I had a particularly bad day at school. Kids could be mean, and I was frequently teased for the things that had happened to me. I cried on the bus all the way home. I walked up the driveway, and there he was, looking through the window by the front door. He knew. He knew. He knew. I didn't have to do my homework that night. I didn't have to go to school the next day. I stayed with Adonis and regained my confidence.

 When I was going through stuff like this I'd talk to him. I'd ask him why bad things had happened to me. I'd ask him what I did to deserve it. I'd ask him why other kids couldn't just leave me alone. I'd ask him if he understood. Of course, he never spoke back to me, but he always answered. I'd feel calm after our conversations. I'd feel more confident. I'd often follow up a session of burying my face in his fur and sobbing (until he was wet and his fur was stuck to my cheeks) with a pep talk to both of us. I'd say things like, "Together, I can do anything," and, “With your help I'll show those mean kids that they can't hurt me," and, "If it wasn't for you I'd never feel any better". Adonis wasn't just my guardian angel. He was my confidante, my therapy, my companion, and my protector, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

I look back on the times I spent with Adonis, and I realize now that because of him, I learned how to trust again, love again, smile again, hope again, and believe in myself and others again. Most of all, he helped me learn how to live again. 

During that time, the girl’s confidence grew, all because she knew Adonis was there.  Confidence led to more independence and, finally, to the decision to pursue an education in dance at a school in New York City.  The only downside was that she knew Adonis wouldn’t be able to go with her.  Still, she really didn’t have much concern as Adonis would stay with the rest of the family and their other dog, Butch. Butch was another Rottweiler mix who, though big, wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree.  Lovable and loyal, Butch was great, but he didn’t have the bond Adonis had with the girl. 

With the decision finalized for the girl to go to New York, and only a few weeks before she was to leave, I received a call in the early hours of Easter Sunday.  Adonis had fallen ill that weekend and the family had scheduled a surgery for Monday. Sadly, he didn’t make it.  Well before dawn, I drove to the home to be with the family, whom I had grown very close to.  There, on the floor of the living room, lay Adonis, his duty to the girl finished.  His watch was over.
Saying goodbye.

Losing Adonis hurt so badly. I walked around for over a year afterward feeling like I didn't have my right arm, or left foot, or both eyes. I was so broken. But he'd always come back when I needed him. I could feel him, even after getting my Lola girl. When she was still learning, I could tell he was there. Now Lola is gone and I don't feel Adonis as much. Occasionally I do though. Mostly I feel Lola, I feel her all the time, and I miss her dearly, much like I missed Adonis. But I'm in a familiar place. I now have Libby. Libby is still learning. I can still feel Lola. When Libby has learned, just like Adonis passed the torch to Lola, Lola will pass the torch to Libby, and then it will be Libby's turn.  Today is the anniversary of Lola's death. It's been two years and I'm feeling her less than I used to but still very frequently. Today, as I mourn Lola, and Libby is sitting beside me, I feel Adonis... my boy... my angel. He's never really gone. He never will be. 

Just a few months ago, I went back to court, to a parole hearing, to face the man that tried to end my life. Adonis was there. It was like I could feel him doing his Rottie lean on my leg, and I could feel Lola on my other side, doing the same Rottie lean. With Libby at my side, I stood up to that man. I told him of the good choices I had made in life and let him know that choice is truly the only thing we actually have control over, because choice is the one thing that is truly ours. I really wonder how much of that was Adonis talking...? Adonis taught me how to work through my troubles and make good choices. The man stayed in jail. He will be there for six more years before we go back for another hearing. But thanks to Adonis, I was able to get through those tough early years and to get to these later ones. 

After so many years in rescue, I’ve seen things that really can’t be explained, except to attribute them to a higher power.  Adonis was one of those.  If there ever was a dog who was heaven-sent, who had but one purpose in life, it was Adonis.  He came at just the right time, into a terrified young girl’s life and helped her through her darkness.  When his job was done, he was called back to the place from where he’d come. 

I’m still honored to be friends with that family.  The young girl is now a beautiful and amazing woman.  One thing, though, hasn’t changed.  She always has a Rottweiler mix as her companion and her guardian.  Though all dogs are special and fill their purpose, none will ever be Adonis, the dog who was wandering down a lonely dirt road on his way to his destiny. 
Adonis was one of several dogs that inspired the character, Stranger, in my first novel.  If you would like to know more about my writing efforts then check out my Facebook and Twitter pages or check out my website at  My first novel, Stranger's Dance is available through Amazon in both Kindle and paperback and is available in Europe and Asia through the relevant Amazon sites for those regions.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reality Check

I wrote the following in 2003.  It was one of those experiences that demanded I document it immediately given the impact it had, and still has, on me.  Of all my rescue experiences, this one summarizes the first rule of rescue better than any other, that rule being:
You can’t save them all, but save the ones you can.

Since starting Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue in 1997, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really great animal shelters.  Some facilities have been well-funded with state-of-the-art components while others have been dirt poor and barely getting by.  A few have even been places where it was obvious the people or person running it were there just for a paycheck and had no compassion for the animals in their care.  Others, though, have been staffed by amazing people who would do anything to help save an animal.  This story revolves around one of the most underfunded, dilapidated facilities I’ve ever seen.  My time spent working with so many good shelters didn’t prepare me for the reality check I was about to receive.

It was early October 2003, and I had planned a trip to Salt Lake City from Bozeman on a Monday.  The Friday before my trip, I received a call from a small animal shelter in southern Idaho regarding a female Rottweiler.  The man reported that the dog was very sweet, but if he couldn’t find a home for her she would be euthanized on Monday.  I scrambled to find a foster home for her and to see if anyone was available to evaluate her.   I came across roadblocks to my plan, so I made the decision to take a detour while driving down to Salt Lake so that I could evaluate the dog myself.  It was about an hour out of my way, but the shelter worker was adamant that this dog was worth looking at.  I made the proper arrangements and set out on Monday as planned.  It was harvest time in Idaho, and as I drove I watched numerous farmers struggling to harvest the crops before winter set in.  Following the directions given me, I made my way through many small towns and turned onto a dirt road behind a high school.  I continually kept my eye out for a large building that would house the number of animals that certainly came in from a county as large as this one, but I was startled to arrive at a 12-foot by 24-foot, cinder block building, complete with a very small sign saying “Animal Shelter”.  Standing out front was a large man who I figured must be my contact.  After introducing myself we walked inside.  The front third of the building was an office, a bathroom, and garage area with a closed door.  I wondered, but didn’t ask, if it was in the garage area that the dogs were euthanized.  I hadn’t seen a smoke stack when I first arrived so I doubted they were cremated on-site but, more than likely, the bodies would be disposed of at the county dump.  Before opening the door to the kennel area, the man warned me about the barking as they were at capacity with dogs.   

The overpowering sound of barking was nothing compared to the sight I encountered as entered the area all the dogs were kept. Before me was a tight-spaced, dimly lit room filled with cages stacked two high, all full of small to mid-sized dogs with only a narrow walkway.  Some cages contained two or three dogs each.  Along one wall sat the cages for bigger dogs.  To say these were kennels would not be fair as they were barely large enough to hold a dog over eighty pounds. Along the back third of these larger cages was a narrow drainage trench in the concrete floor that ran parallel with the wall.  Between that and the diminutive cage size, there was barely any room for the canine occupant to lay down.

 The closest pen held a gorgeous German Shepherd, his large body filling the cage with no room to spare. It appeared as though the dog had spilled his food on the filthy floor in order to get to it. I realized that this was the only way he could eat, as the food and water dishes were old coffee cans and his large head couldn’t reach into the bottom of them.  His brown eyes pleadingly looked to me and my heart dropped into my stomach.  My reality check had just been cashed.

In the last pen was the Rottweiler I was there to look at.  I asked if there was a yard to take her into so that I could perform the evaluation, but my fear was confirmed.   There was no yard; the dogs were kept in pens 24 hours a day. In fact, staff had to crawl into the pens with the animals to perform cleaning duties, never letting them loose.  I attempted to hide my anger, and went to retrieve the dog and hook up a leash.  The Rottweiler didn’t have a collar so I made a loop out of my leash and placed it over her head.  She didn’t pull hard, and I let her lead me out of the shelter into the sunshine.  As I hooked up a prong collar to start the evaluation, I asked how long the dog had been here. 

“I think since September 30th, but I would have to check,” the staff man answered.

I was stunned that the dog had been there for over three weeks, but the man had said she was a nice dog and he obviously wanted to try and save her.  The Rottie, who I had begun to call Sweetie, was fascinated by the American flag waving in the wind above the shelter roof. As I observed her fascination, I realized that it must have been three weeks since she had been outside in the sun.  Her coat was gray and dusty and in desperate need of both a brushing and bath.  Her muscular body pulled me around as I let her explore, and all the while I watched her body language as I put her through the paces.  She was beautiful, and, judging from her teeth, about two to three years old.  I spent about twenty minutes working with her, discovering what issues she had.  Other than some minor dominance concerns, something I expected from a Rottie, she was sweet as could be.  Once finished, I told the man that I would be back Wednesday to pick her up and put her into foster care.  He said he would make sure she’d be ready.  Reluctantly, I led her back to the kennel.  She desperately didn’t want return to the confined space, and I had to force her in.  After closing the pen, she tried to nibble her food, but, like the German Shepard, her head was too large and prevented her from reaching the food that remained in the bottom of the coffee can.  My heart was torn up.  I tried not to look at the other dogs, but I couldn’t help but return my gaze to the German Shepherd in his too-small pen. 

“I don’t suppose you could take that Shepherd with you when you pick up the Rott?”  The man had obviously seen me admiring the dog.

“Sorry, I only have room for one.” 

“Yeah, I would take him home myself but my wife would kill me.  Sucks because they are all going to be put down tomorrow.”

I didn’t look at the man.  I didn’t want to.  His words were clear enough.  Tomorrow every dog there, except the Rott, would be euthanized.  I thought of that beautiful German Shepherd who could barely fit in his pen.  I shook my head and again told the man that I would be there early morning on Wednesday, and he, likewise, reassured me Sweetie would be ready.  As I pulled away, the images of all those dogs inundated my thoughts, their time expired with no one trying to claim them.  The eyes of the Shepherd hurt me deeply as they flashed through my mind.  The memory of the dog’s eyes along with the sounds of the scared barking that echoed in the cinderblock room all caused my chest to ache.  As I hit the highway I set the cruise control and felt the first hint of a tear form in my eye.  It had been a while since I had allowed emotions surrounding a dog to affect me.  My walls, which had been built up, and enforced by the safety of working with a no-kill shelter, had just come crumbling down.  I called a friend on my cell to vent.  It helped a little but not much.  Slowly, as I drove, I tried to focus on arriving at my destination and picking Sweetie up on Wednesday, not on all the other dogs at that shelter, especially the German Shepherd.

Tuesday was spent taking care of business in Salt Lake City, but even given the distractions of my trip, my thoughts rarely strayed from the dogs I had seen.   I talked with foster families, wondering if there was any way to save the German Shepherd, or any of the other dogs, but we were full and already pushing limits with the Rottie.  It was one of those terrible but necessary decisions I had made when I had started Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue:  the Rotties had to come first.  I was also limited by the fact that the car I was driving was one I had borrowed for the trip and really only had room for one large dog.  Still, my heart was heavy with what I knew was going to transpire.  To drive back to the shelter, walk in, and only see the Rottie was more than I cared to ponder.  Still, to save one is what it is all about, as one person can never save them all.  It just isn’t possible.

That night I came down with a stomach virus.  Not able to sleep, I was forced to relive the time I had spent at the shelter --the sounds and the looks in the dogs’ eyes as I walked by were as real as ever.  By 5:30 am I was tired of trying to sleep and decided to hit the road.  It was only 45 minutes earlier than I had planned, but I am glad left early since my illness had intensified as I drove, and I found myself making numerous stops to deal with its symptoms.  Finally, at one truck stop, I wised up and bought some medication, praying that it would get me through the long stretches of the remaining drive.  (The sparse population of northern Utah and southern Idaho made for long distances between rest stops.)  Thankfully, the weather was nice and the clear blue skies made the drive enjoyable.  In my mind I ran through how I was going to handle Sweetie and deal with any of the possible situations that might develop with her.  I didn’t have a crate to put her in so I had prepared the back seat to be as comfortable as possible.  I had bought some sheets and a collar, as she hadn’t had one when I’d performed the evaluation. I had even purchased her a chew toy in hope that she would be more interested in playing with it than trying to help me drive.  There is nothing worse than a Rottweiler trying to play co-pilot while you are doing seventy-five miles per hour on the interstate. 

I pulled into the shelter at 8:30 and saw the truck of the man I had talked with two days before.  As I entered the front door I was greeted with the joyous sounds of barking.  My heart leapt, even if only for a moment, as it meant that not all the dogs had been euthanized.   I walked down the hallway and opened the thick metal door to the kennel area, seeing the man I had met on my first visit.  He was standing there, his arms deep in a sink of soapy water, cleaning coffee cans for that day’s feeding.  The barking was intense, and upon first glance it looked as if all the dogs were there, including the German Shepherd.  I said hi to the worker and he told me to help myself to the Rottie.  I nodded, and as I walked back to her pen the German Shepherd stood there looking at me, his bushy tail moving back and forth against the cage, hopeful I was coming to his pen.  I steeled myself and focused on Sweetie as I walked past the German Shepherd’s cage. Along the bottom of all the cages was dog food, fecal matter, and urine.   Upon arriving at Sweetie’s cage, I saw that her pen was no different.  Still, she had managed not to step in the large piles of soft stool and wiggled excitedly upon seeing me.  I opened Sweetie’s pen and looped the leash around her neck.  The other dogs grew more excited as I walked her out of the room.  I forced myself to avert my eyes because I knew that if I truly looked at any of them I would lose focus of my mission.  Once outside, I put the new collar on Sweetie and tried to brush out some of her coat, minimizing the amount of shedding that would occur during the drive.  The worker came out from the back of the shelter.  We chatted briefly. and I had him fill out a release form for our group, giving us custody of the dog. I started to pull out cash to pay him the adoption fee but he declined.  He just wanted her saved.  I asked about the others.  He simply shook his head in reply and mentioned that today or tomorrow was their last day.  I could tell he didn’t enjoy the task the lay ahead but had no choice.  Still, I wondered if anyone in the county knew of the conditions there and how easy it would be to help to change the shelter conditions as well as the opinions of those overseeing it.  Yet, it wasn’t my problem, not now.  My role was simply to transport Sweetie to her new foster home.  I did thank the man for at least making the effort to contact me about Sweetie.  His eyes told me that he did not enjoy what he had to work with but that he was glad to see at least one dog being saved. 

Initially it took a lot of effort to get the ninety-five pound Rottie into the car.  She was scared and I couldn’t blame her. The last time she was in a vehicle she had ended up in the shelter. After a quick stop at a local veterinary office to get a health certificate and rabies shot, I headed out of town.  Once on the road, Sweetie laid down, sprawled across the entire seat, and she didn’t move unless I stopped and got out myself.  I wondered if she was okay as I was used to Rotties being very aware of everything as I drove.  It was only after an hour or so that the realization hit me: given the conditions she had come from and the size of her cage she probably hadn’t been able to lay down for more than a few hours a day. Even if she had been able to lay down it wouldn’t have been lengthwise but curled up in a ball on the cold concrete floor.  With that epiphany I reached behind my seat and ran my fingers along her dirty, dry fur.  I felt her lick my hand softly as I told her that she was safe now.  I turned off the radio and hoped that the silence and the soft back seat would allow her to finally sleep deeply.  Sweetie dozed off here and there but mostly just stared out the window of the back door.  We made several rest stops along the way, and I hoped that the more I handled her the more she would relax.  It worked and, while heading for Monida Pass, she fell fast asleep.  Her heavy breathing was, perhaps, the nicest sound I had heard during my trip.  For the moment my thoughts were only on the dog in back.  The barking and pleading looks from the dogs that I had left behind were momentarily subdued. 
Sweetie and I shortly after I brought her back from Idaho
Six hours later, and after dropping Sweetie off at her foster home, I arrived home and was once again inundated with thoughts of the other dogs.  Still, there was nothing I could do.  There was no one close, and certainly no other rescues in that area, that I knew of.  The saddest part of it all was that it represented only one shelter out of hundreds in the country.  All were overcrowded, and all were forced to do what they had to.  I am not against euthanizing dogs if they are deemed habitually aggressive, not responding to training, but to put down a dog only because no one wants it pains me to no end. This, however, it is a reality that exists and one I must accept.  I am thankful for the reminder of that reality; it forces me to remember why I started BSRR and why rescuers across the country do so much for just one dog.  The focus must be one dog at time.  Save one dog and then move on to the next.  One of the undeniable truths of rescue is that there will always be another dog needing help somewhere.  We, sadly, will never be short of that necessity.
Sweetie and the feather.
Sweetie was adopted a few months after being rescued and lived eight wonderful years with her human, Julie.  For me, Sweetie is a dog I will always be glad I was able to save, yet to this day, I’m still haunted by the eyes of the German Shepherd.  His look captured the plea of every animal that is awaiting its death in countless shelters around the country.  For that reason alone, I will never purchase a puppy but will always adopt.  I ask, no I beg, that you do the same.  I close with a Karen Davison quote that captures the reality and hope of rescue:

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
Sweetie and her little friend at her forever home.

For more information about Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue, go to If you want to know more about my efforts as a writer, be sure to check out my Facebook and Twitter pages.  You can also learn more about me at my website There you can also purchase my first novel, Stranger’s Dance.