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.
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.
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.
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.
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.