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The Shelter Pet Project




Annaa Russell


Idaho Falls, ID


Idaho Falls Animal Shelter

Why Dash is so special:

I had recently lost my beloved 15-year-old red heeler, Pard, when Dash burst unexpectedly into my life. My Dash, my Whiz Kid. He of the Hunter-Gatherer Clan, randomly picking items from each room and piling them up, so proud of himself. He has more dexterity in his paws than most people I know, is completely in love with his tennis ball and can't help but herd our flock of hens. Clever, talented, intelligent and sweet, Dash is not a replacement, but a blessed addition who has made our family whole.

If your pet could talk, what would he or she tell us about you?:

Dash was pulled from the Idaho Falls shelter in June 2011, aged 4 months. My mum had seen his picture on the shelter's Facebook page earlier that week and told me that had she been living in the States, she would've taken him home in a minute. I was still reeling from the loss of my beloved Pard, and was absolutely not interested in another dog. I had also re-homed a foster dog I'd had for six months and then lost my cat to a URI from another foster cat I'd taken in, all within six weeks of each other. I was quite content in mourning my losses and had no intention of taking in another pet. My mum told me I HAD to get him. I told her no way. A week later, I was helping my sister pull some cats from the shelter as it was "euth" day, and rescues/fosters/transports were lined up for a few. Sick at being even near the euthanasia room and choosing who went home with us as staff went through cages pulling everything to be destroyed, I was nearly in tears as my little sister sweet-talked me into going to look "just once at this dog. Just once." I walked up to the kennel and he simply looked at me, pressing his paw against the chain link as if to say, "There you are. I've been waiting for you." He had a collar. He had tags. He had papers, even. But he had no rescue, or foster. He was on the euthanasia list. I took him out for a wee and as I sat on the grass with him, jelly-legged, heart pounding, tears streaming and sobs soaking his sweet face, I begged to know how I would or could ever love a dog as much as my Pard. And ever so softly another voice cried to me, "You can love them differently, and equally." This picture is of Dash's first birthday, on Feb. 23 2012 and it is my hope that we spend many, many more together. They say that I saved Dash, but the truth is, he saved me.

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