Late one Friday evening in May, I was finishing up some work on the computer. Before turning in for the night, I decided to do one of my routine searches for Wheatens on the Petfinder website. I was somewhat surprised when the result showed that a female Wheaten named Daisy had been picked up as a stray and taken to a local southern New Jersey shelter. There was no picture available, but I decided to pay a visit to the shelter in the morning to determine whether this really was a Wheaten.

When I arrived at the shelter the next morning, I inquired about Daisy. Someone brought her into the room. She appeared to be a purebred Wheaten with an undocked tail. It was extremely difficult to be sure, though, since she her coat was in such poor condition. I reported this to Gwen, who told me that I could go ahead and rescue Daisy anyway, if the shelter would let me have her. We would just need to be sure that prospective adoptive families realized that this dog might be a Wheaten mix.

We had to wait for a week for Daisy to be available for adoption. No one thought it was very likely that her owners would come looking for her, but by law the shelter had to hold her for that long. When they finally gave me permission to take her home the following Thursday, Daisy was thrilled to be leaving the shelter and gladly hopped right into my car.

When we got home, she explored the house a little, but mostly stayed by my side. She was extremely thin, and her coat was in terrible condition. All she seemed to want was to be petted and hugged. I took her to the vet to be vaccinated. The vet estimated that Daisy was about a year and a half old. She also informed me that she had not been spayed, so I made an appointment to have that done later in the week. In the meantime, I took her to a groomer who cleaned her up and shaved most of her matted coat.

Daisy turned out to be a real sweetheart with a beautiful temperament. She got along well with my two Wheatens, Siobhan and Rory. I was very tempted to keep her, but I knew that I could not handle three dogs on a permanent basis.

A few days after Daisy came to stay with me, Gwen forwarded to me an e-mail she had received from a woman named Pat Durkin, who was looking for a Wheaten or Wheaten mix. I answered Pat’s e-mail and instructed her to go to the WIN website and fill out an adoption application. Pat filled out the application immediately and seemed extremely interested in meeting Daisy. I told Pat that she could come for a visit once Daisy had recovered from her spay surgery.

On Sunday, June 9th, sixteen days after I had brought Daisy home from the shelter, Pat came down from North Jersey, along with her sister and daughter, to meet Daisy. Pat and I had spoken several times and this seemed like it was going to be a good match. I knew that if Daisy responded favorably to Pat and her family, that I would let her go home with them.

Daisy came to me not understanding any basic obedience commands. I had done a little bit of clicker training with her to teach her the basics. However, I had not had much time to teach her, and her surgery set us back even more. But when Pat and her family came to visit, Daisy seemed to understand that she was being put to the test. When we demonstrated what she had learned so far, she obeyed every command perfectly. She really seemed to like Pat, and she got on particularly well with Pat’s daughter Kristin.

I knew that the time had come to let Daisy go, but it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. During the sixteen days she was with me, I became more attached to her than I had thought I would. But now she had the chance to live with a family who would love her, who had a large, fenced yard for her to play in, and another dog, a Shih Tzu, to be her companion. I gave her a goodbye hug, and handed the bag with her food and toys to Pat. Daisy hopped happily into the back seat of Pat’s car with Kristin. She seemed to know that she was finally going to her forever home.

Pat has kept in touch with me and tells me that Daisy is doing well. She seems to be very happy with her new Shih Tzu sister and has made herself right at home in the Durkin household. She is an extremely lucky dog to have found such a loving family. I will never forget this special little dog, and I will always be grateful to Gwen and Holly for letting me rescue and foster Daisy, and to the Durkins for adopting her and giving her such a wonderful home.

Rob Horgan
Cherry Hill, New Jersey