Join Our Community of Dog Lovers

Champion of My Heart is an award-winning dog blog. We've created many important resources that people from all over the world continue to access. Like this post? Get an email alert when new content goes live by subscribing. Plus, look for info on sales and bonus discounts from our affiliates.

Subscribe !

Guest Post: Why I Approved 1 Border Collie’s Adoption to 1 Particular Family

Sunday, October 20, 2013, marks the 9th anniversary of Lilly’s adoption. Here is that story through the eyes of the adoption counselor who gave us the green light.

On a sunny October day in 2004, while I was a volunteer adoption counselor at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, I had the pleasure of assisting little Daisy (now the infamous Lilly) become part of Roxanne and Tom Hawn’s family.

~ by Hilary Lane, Fang Shui Canines

hilary and luna

Since I was also a co-director of a border collie rescue while volunteering at the shelter, I knew that as a 6-month-old puppy, she had energy and smarts that needed to be channeled creatively in the right environment — one that would build her confidence, enrich her life, and become a playful companion to another dog. She needed a special place to live after her dubious beginnings.


Daisy and two other young dogs had come to our border collie rescue from southern Colorado. However, we had no fosters for them. At that time, we had an agreement with the humane society that if the dogs were adoptable, they would take them. I drove Daisy and the other two over to the shelter directly.

The Adoption Interview

I especially wanted to be the adoption counselor for Daisy, as the representative for our rescue. I had followed her in her pre-adoption evaluation and checked on her daily for the short time she was there. In my mind, she couldn’t go to anyone who didn’t know border collies.

New Pup1

Lilly’s actual adoptable dog photo that we saw online.

I remember interviewing Tom and Roxanne in a small yard in the back of the building after taking Daisy out of her kennel. Roxanne and Tom had seen her photo and profile on the humane society’s website and were anxious to meet her to see if she’d be right to join their current canine companion Ginko.

Although Daisy was shy in new environments, once she was out of her kennel and in the yard with us, she was busy sniffing, high jumping—possibly trying to escape her confines, and doing all puppy things as the humans talked.

The Hawns discussed their backgrounds, work and home life, how dedicated they would be to training and spending time with a new pup. They also talked about why they wanted a lively companion for Ginko. But why wasn’t he there for the meet-and-greet? The shelter always wants to meet the canine companions. Apparently, he had trouble meeting new dogs at the shelter (they had tried a few times), so if Daisy was the one, the shelter granted special dispensation for him to meet Daisy at their home, which would most likely be successful based on their experience.

Pups playing 6

Ginko did snark at Lilly once when we introduced them for the first time outside, but as soon as she started following him around the pasture, he decided she was OK. He had been desperately lonely as an only dog, after our dalmatian died.

I was thrilled to hear that Roxanne worked from their house as a freelance writer and had a column for the Denver Post at that time. She also wrote for a few veterinary and pet publications — perfect. Tom was a firefighter, which to me meant that he knew how to handle emergencies. Bonus? As a child, Tom had lived with a border collie, but would that be enough?

They previously had a dalmatian, Penelope, who ended up with kidney disease, and they were committed to all of her medical needs and expenses. They’d lost another dog, Cody to cancer. Ginko was a rescue with a difficult beginning, and they saw him through the tough times. They had land and a lot of places to exercise their dogs. They had gone to and followed through with training.


They NEVER snuggle like this anymore. In fact, I’d forgotten that they ever did. OMD, could they be any cuter?

As I gathered information, they started asking many questions, not only about how to find out more regarding the breed, but about all kinds of things, such as what kind of training do they need, what happens if… The list went on, even about her name (and I’m glad they changed it to Lilly—one beautiful flower for an even more beautiful flower). They played with her, trying to engage her gently.


The Big Picture

It was touching to see, both eager adoptees really wanting this girl. No one had asked so many excellent and relevant questions in the history of my adoption counseling or rescue experience! As we spent that valuable time in that yard, I knew that was what mattered.

I saw the big picture – they cared and wouldn’t give up on her, no matter what. I thought Roxanne and Tom weren’t only going to be great for Daisy, but the ONLY ones who would be right for her at that given time. And, as it has turned out, the right ones for her entire life.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Donna and the Dogs - October 24, 2013

It was so great to read about why you were chosen as Lily’s new family. 🙂

merr - October 21, 2013

Great post – it’s like a history of a family, looking back over the years. - October 21, 2013

Sweet story! I love the photos, especially the last one of them playing.

KB - October 20, 2013

A wonderful post. She was right then and she’s right now.

Alexandra - October 19, 2013

After following Champion of My Heart for several years, I really enjoyed reading about the adoption. I had no idea so much thought and care went into it. Lilly is one very fortunate dog to have adoptive parents like Roxanne and Tom.

Susan and Wrigs - October 19, 2013

Thanks for sharing Lilly’s adoption story! It’s great that the Humane Society of Boulder Valley has adoption counselors like Hilary. When I adopted Wrigs at our local shelter 7 1/2 years ago, they had no counseling or screening in place, other than a few questions on the application such as, “Do you have a fenced yard?” A couple had adopted Wrigs and returned him two days later, which worked out perfectly for us, but illustrates what happens when there is no screening or counseling process.

Eileen - October 19, 2013

Lilly found her perfect forever home that day.

Jen - October 18, 2013

What a great story! I know there can be a lot of stress involved with rescue and getting approved by rescue or a shelter, and the Hawns definitely seemed like they were a good fit from the get-go!

Plus, bonus baby Lilly pictures 😉

Edie - October 18, 2013

I had no idea you were involved with Lilly’s adoption, Hilary! How cool that two of my favorite dog people have that connection. Thanks for telling this story. There are so many unsuccessful doptions. You must be very gratified at how this one turned out!

    Hilary - October 18, 2013

    Hi Edie–yup, that’s how I met Roxanne! I am more than thrilled to know how it turned out. I hardly ever get follow ups notes on any adoptions. The picture of Lilly on the shelter website where Roxanne and Tom saw her was blurry most likely because Lilly had trouble sitting still and always wanted to be busy–and something about that compelled Roxanne and Tom to think she was the one for them!

Sheryl - October 17, 2013

What a touching story. Lilly is a very lucky -and special- dog.

Linda - October 17, 2013

Great post. I didn’t know Lilly’s backstory, but I’ve been so impressed by the love and care that Roxanne, Tom and Ginko bestow upon Lilly.

Sam - October 17, 2013

What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

Monty and Harlow

Comments are closed