By Melody Vallieu
Editor, Miami Valley Today
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) sponsors this event to promote the adoption of dogs from local shelters.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. When these abandoned and often abused animals find their way to a shelter, each one needs a forever home and their potential is limitless. Some of the benefits of adoption are often hidden, according to the ASPCA’s website. Humans and canines both enjoy increased activity and social interaction through daily walks. Humans develop patience as they learn the ways of their new four-legged companion. Dogs explore the many scents of the human lifestyle, usually discovering shoes are off limits, the website says.
No matter the breed, size or demeanor of the canine, the shelter will take the time to find the right home for their animals. They schedule visits and have procedures in place to promote healthy adoptions for families and individuals. While some dogs have experienced injury or illness, the shelters work with veterinarians to heal the animals before making them available for adoption.
Of course, donations and volunteers are always welcome. Dogs love to be walked, played with, and loved even if they haven’t found their forever home. Every moment they spend socializing increases their opportunity for adoption. During Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, visit, volunteer, donate, and adopt.
To view shelter pets available at the Miami County Animal Shelter, visit 1110 N. County Road 25-A, Troy, or see www.co.miami.oh.us/110/Animal-Shelter.
My own personal story is that we lost one of our dogs, our Samoyed named Kiera, in December 2018. She was blind, had diabetes that required shots every 12 hours — and she was beloved. Our older Dachshund-Jack Russell Terrier Brutus was lost without her, as were the people.
Knowing our sadness, my daughter, Ashliegh, was on a mission to find us another big, furry mess to share our sweeper with. On the coldest day in January of this year — just over a month later — we went to the Clark County SPCA in Springfield to meet the dog now known to us as Nala. She jumped up on the table in the little room, turned around, crossed her paws, and looked at each of us casually. She instantly won our hearts.
She is scared to death of flies, is quirky as quirky gets, and repaired some of the giant hole in our hearts.
Almost as what seems to be homage to Kiera, she sometimes lays her head on the shelf where Kiera’s cremations and picture rest in our living room and just stares at it. It’s heartwarming.
She has become my husband’s bestie and spends her time following him wherever he goes when he’s home — and begging for more walks.
Other stories received from the community include:
November of 2011, a friend told me there was an Australian Shepherd at the Miami County Animal Shelter.
My first response was “Oh, we don’t need another dog.” I tossed and turned all night thinking about the dog.
I finally found the courage to pull up his picture on the website. Needless to say, I was there when the shelter opened the next morning. They brought me out this skinny, scared, tired, and lonely dog, who couldn’t help but climb into my lap and continuously lick my face. I immediately filled out the paperwork and brought home our new family member. Much to my surprise, he completely changed my life. He turned out to be the most compassionate, affectionate, and loyal companion I could have ever dreamed of. He was able to gain 30 much needed pounds, and some four-legged siblings. He loved to take car rides, watch squirrels, run through the corn fields, and snuggle under the covers. I was never able to take a step without him following behind.
He loved everyone and everything he came into contact with including newborns, rabbits, and even cats. Rocko filled our lives with so much love, all because we gave him a chance.
Sadly enough, we lost our sweet boy in May due to kidney failure. He filled our life with joy for eight selfless years. He left a huge hole in our hearts, along with an abundance of memories that will one day give me the courage to be able to rescue another lost soul.
I will forever only adopt shelter pets.
— Jessica Woods
We got Chewy from the Miami County Animal Shelter eight years ago after my daughter told me she needed something to love.
He had a broken leg when we adopted him and chewed off at least three casts.
We love our grumpy old man.
— Rachelle Miller
This is the day after Joey, a Bichon Poodle mix, was adopted from the Miami County Animal Shelter in 2011. He is glued to my lap and always travels this way.
He’s very happy now and a delight. My best little buddy.
— Deb Wollam
• Stanley and Scarlett
My two sweet rescues, both are Terrier mixes. The white one is Stanley, who I adopted nine years ago and is 11, and I just rescued Scarlett, who is black with a touch of brown and white spots. She is one. They are amazing dogs, and Stanley has been by my side for so much! I got Scarlett to help him stay young. They are still adjusting to each other. But, I love them both so much.
Nothing better than a (pound puppy). I got Stanley from the Montgomery County Humane Society and got Scarlett from Barely Used Pets.
— Jill Wills
This is Briar. He was adopted from Barely Used Pets in Urbana. I needed a service dog/pet therapy dog since my last one passed away. So I started looking, and several months into it, I found him. He is a Dalmadore who is 90 percent definitely, was abused, and he has half a back foot.
It took time to adjust to life in a home with two other dogs, but he is wonderful and adjusted well. He now alerts me when my sugar is low, comforts me when my anxiety is up, and brings joy to those living in assisted living and nursing homes.
— Victoria Haack Jones
• Abby Gail
Adopted her eight years ago at the Miami County Animal Shelter, and she has been the best dog I’ve ever had — although a pain in the butt sometimes.
— Steven Brandl
We picked Pea up at the Miami County Animal Shelter on April 15, 2008. He has been such a good dog. He was so skinny when we got him. He weighed less than 10 pounds, now he weighs 22 pounds, and loves his daddy and mama bunches.
• Rusty and Maggie
My first dog was Lady, a shaggy mixed breed girl adopted from the Miami County Animal Shelter in 1983. I was seven. Having Lady changed my life in so many ways. Even as a child, I realized how her friendship, loyalty, and devotion set an example for me. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live without a dog, and aside from my college years, I haven’t. Shelter pets are my passion.
Now as a wife and mom, my family loves pets, too. We adopted Rusty in 2012 and Maggie in 2014, both from the Miami County Animal Shelter (our cat, Rosy, is also from MCAS). We think Rusty is a Shiba Inu mix, and heaven only knows what Maggie is (coyote?). We don’t care about breed. All we know is how much joy they add to our lives.
Maggie was one year old when we adopted her, but she’d already had a litter of 10 puppies. She was distressed and malnourished. I took her home, and she was instantly bonded to all of us. My favorite thing about Maggie is how she literally smiles — showing all her teeth — every time we come home. She wiggles, jumps, and grins to show how happy she is to see us. Rusty is just as sweet. He’s my shadow. He follows me around and won’t go for walks if I don’t go along. If I’m not feeling well, he lies by my side and just makes me feel better. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Our favorite thing to do together? Walk. Having dogs has always kept us active, which is great for all of us. I highly recommend a shelter dog for increasing your activity level, as well as boosting your spirits. Having these dogs has certainly made our house a home.
— Melissa Nichols
This is Roper. I adopted him three years ago when he was a year old. He was being fostered in Michigan for an Australian Shepherd rescue group.
He had some behavior issues due to being neglected, and I almost took him back a couple of times, but then he’d show me signs that he was trying to learn. I’m so glad that I never gave up on him.
He is definitely my dog and thinks his “job” is to protect me and has been there for me in life’s ups and downs. I really don’t know what I’d do without him.
I guess we rescued each other.
— Cindy DeNise
I spent my entire adult life not wanting a dog. For years, I refused to relent and get a dog for our family. Little did I realize, however, it was simply a matter of finding the right dog. The perfect dog. That’s what we found in our little Millie Jo.
I had promised our daughter that I would relent and we could get a dog if she broke the Troy Junior High School pole vault record. Within a week after her breaking the record, we picked up our sweet baby from a pet rescue. Just days after welcoming her into our home and hearts, she was diagnosed with the Parvo virus.
We were so blessed she pulled through. It’s amazing how quickly we had fallen in love with that little bundle of energy. It’s hard to imagine our lives without her now. It may sound cliche, but we didn’t rescue her … she rescued us.
— David Fong
We would like to introduce our best buddy and shop dog, Toby! We are lucky enough to have shared the last 15 years with this guy.
We adopted Toby from our local shelter when he was nine months old. He was the quiet, inquisitive little guy sitting in a cage watching us as we walked through! He still sits and watches us with those curious eyes. We thought we were getting a Jack Russell mix, but quickly realized we had a Beagle (mix). He was a 4-H obedience dog with our middle school daughter, who is now 27. He has “raised’ other family pups, notified us of varmints, and greeted so many customers at our bike shop! He truly loves children and still makes a point to greet them when they come into the shop. Our change jar is regularly donated to rescues and shelters.
We could not do what we do without our boss, Toby! Sometimes riders just stop in for conversation and to see Toby. It is all good when a pet is part of your life!
— Dennis and Joyce Ferguson
• Archie, Harry and Peaches
Just look at those smiling faces! This photo was taken three years ago just hours after Archie, the white and black dog, met his new brother and sister, Harry and Peaches. All three are adopted. We adopted Harry, a Golden Retriever-Lab mix, 11 years ago from our vet. Peaches, a Golden Retriever-Great Pyrenees mix, joined us sears years ago from DREAM (www.Dream4pets.org). We also adopted Archie, a Great Pyrenees, from DREAM.
All three have had to overcome obstacles. From broken bones, abandonment, to abuse. But with the right loving environment, plenty of patience, and time, they are now thriving. Harry and Peaches are registered therapy dogs. They visit hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and schools. Archie is working on his obedience skills and hopes to join them as a registered therapy dog soon.
People say that when you adopt a dog, you are saving a life. That may be true, but these three dogs have saved our lives. They help us decompress from the stress of everyday life. They help us to enjoy the small things in life that we once took for granted. Watching these three experience something for the first time and seeing the reaction on their faces is priceless. Whether they are discovering how to play with a toy or eating peanut butter for the first time, knowing you were able to give them a great life is a special feeling.
We wouldn’t trade our fur babies for anything! They bring so much love and laughter to our lives.
This is Hallie. We rescued her from the Miami County Animal Shelter three years ago, and she is now 13. Yes, she was a senior rescue and has brought so much love into our family!
Hallie loves car rides, relaxing on our patio, or just chilling as she rests her head on the back of the couch looking our our front window. Hallie is the most gentle, loving, and attentive girl, but she is very good at giving you a look, just anyone who knows her.
She gets her exercise by chasing the neighbor’s chickens back into their own yard. She doesn’t harm them, she chases them back into their own yard and then just stops and walks back to the patio. It’s quite entertaining to watch!
Hallie has been by my side this past year through breast cancer and all that followed. I knew she was very special when I first saw her, but I had no idea just how special she would turn out to be. She is loved by anyone who meets her gentle soul!
If you are thinking of a new fur family member, please consider adopting because the love they give is so appreciated and unconditional!
— Sharon Hager
Gracie, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever who came to us from Dream4pets dog rescue group rather than a shelter. Gracie’s owner needed to re-home her due to grandson’s allergies and contacted the dog rescue group instead of the shelter. We were asked to foster Gracie in December 2015 and by February 2016 had decided to adopt her as a permanent family member.
Our Gracie was a bit overweight but daily walks helped. Meeting new people and dogs was fun as she liked everyone. She enjoyed being outside even in winter, rolling on the snow, and making “doggie snow angels.” Her only fear was thunder. She paced nervously as storms rolled in and finally settled between the coffee table and couch. Late night storms were the worst, and either my husband or I would sleep on the couch to keep Gracie company.
We fostered two other dogs while we had Gracie. Each time she would look at us as if to say, “you brought a teenager dog into our home?!” but then she shared her toys, space, and love with them.
Gracie died of cancer in April 2018, so we had her for only a few years. Do we regret her passing? Yes. Do we regret taking in a senior dog? Not for a second. Gracie brought us love, companionship, and happiness to us every day.
We continue to foster dogs hoping that each one will find a caring permanent home and give their new family the loving experience we had with Gracie.
— Lorraine Reibert
Cooper joined our family (and our two other boxers) in 2013. I was browsing the animal shelter website and saw his sweet, sad eyes. I knew he was meant to be with us. My husband met me at the shelter “just to look” at him. But as soon as we met him, I knew he was coming home with us. He has been the sweetest and most loving dog. He loves to cuddle and he loves to eat! Shelter pets deserve love and kindness, I would adopt them all if so had the room.
— Kathy Scott
Community Engagement and Operations Director, RT Industries
This is Thomas, also known as Tommy Tom the Pommy Pom.
We adopted him from Helping hands in St. Paris.
He’s an elderly fella, and I don’t think his early years were kind to him, but my husband and I are making his older years the best we can.
— Tammy Grise Mayberry