SUNNY'S SHINING AGAIN

    I had been looking at local shelters for an Austrailian Shepard since losing my beloved "Blue" in May of this year.   While feeling kind of strange about it, in late July I began a search on the internet and was amazed and saddened to see how many Aussies and other sweet pets were abandoned, but also touched and inspired to know that there are so many dedicated and wonderful people devoting their time to saving as many of these deserving lives as they can.
    Although we live in Northern California, we were planning to visit our son in Los Angeles and scheduled visits with Aussies in Fresno (Animal Rescue), Bakersfield Shelter, Palmdale and Victorville rescues and the Upland and Riverside Shelters.   We had also visited with 3 cute Aussies in Redding.  All were delightful, sweet and appealing in their own ways, but we were looking for that perfect "chemistry".  It may sound odd, but in our area not so many, although still too many pets, especially Aussies, are given up or abandoned.
    We found "Sunny", a stray who had been at the Upland Shelter almost 2 weeks, using your website, contacted the shelter immediately, and were told she was still there but may not be available when we were able to be there.
    Lucky for us she still was.   When we arrived, Cassie, a volunteer dog runner and Katherine, a volunteer groomer, had just bathed her and Katherine was trying to get all of the mats out of her beautiful long fur, some of which had to be shaved.  They were trying to make her pretty so hopefully she would be adopted at Petco that weekend as her time was drawing near.   Sunny was so sweet and gentle and absolutely loved all the attention she was getting.   She even let me comb out some of her fur, then went outside for a little walk where I learned she knew sit and stay!  At the same time, however, Sunny was also very frightened, shy and submissive- I think from her distress and loneliness from being abandoned and confused and fearful of what would happen to her next.
    We have had her at home for only a week now and she is really coming out to be the bright beautiful girl she really is underneath it all, not only just the Aussie intelligence, but starting to romp and learning to play (even though she is only 2) and to trust that she really is a BIG part of her forever family!!!  She loves her fluffy bed in the kitchen, big shady yard with a dog door to the inside, runs in the park, rides in the car (a convertible!) and hanging out in the mornings with me.  She just makes everyone smile with her Aussie wiggle and wit, not to mention her soft licks and gentle paw on your hand.
    I also want Sunny's story to be not just for her but all the others--  Of course I want all of the "rescuers" to know that their tireless efforts do really work miracles, but I also want others looking for pets to see that it could actually happen for them too--- the pets in shelters just need a second chance (if you get there in time!), the animal control and shelter workers and volunteers bend over backwards to help the pets in their care get adopted (against vast odds they know only too well), and the rewards are so great, if people will just give it a try.  And for me anyway, 500 miles away, it all started with this great up-to-the-minute website and the unsung heroes who created and maintain it.
    Thank you for bringing us together.  I hope these pictures of Sunny will brighten your day!

        Chris Read and Family

update on Sunny:

  The first day of Spring is the perfect day to tell everyone how Sunny continues to blossom!  Now that the rain in Northern CA is pretty much over, Sunny, aka "Sunshine" has started pre-agility and is a star performer, learning to "touch" in two tries and the word "touch" in 2 more tries.
   At first I was just looking to socialize her to other dogs and learn how to teach her cute dog tricks, but over the months we've had her, her energy level has been amazing!  She races around the backyard with a partially deflated soccer ball, tossing it in the air and kicking it.  At first she didn't want (or know how ?) to play, and is still particular about toys.  Her favorite thing is to run along with me riding a bike as fast as I can...and that's pretty fast!
   Even before her classes, without the use of food, she learned "watch TV" (go to den), "go to bed" (hers and stay) "kiss" (no explanation needed) "not now" (too much giving paws) and "go potty" (honest ! - but only if she has to go).  The last one has been great for all our Southern California trips, which she loves.  We're working on "say please" which is an extension of her love of sitting up on her haunches and lifting one paw, but at this stage she wants me to hold her paw or use my forearm as a perch.  Sunny also can "talk" by saying "wooooooh" when she sees me in the morning and when we come home from work and she wants to be fed.
   She has also learned to get along with my daughter's 6 year old German Shorthair, Greta, and just last weekend "the girls" went shopping with us in San Francisco, a very dog-friendly city.  Of course they got lots of compliments and treats.   Sunny has also found her way with Beau, my Los Angeles son's 3 year old GIANT black Lab mix who will play all day if you let him...I'm afraid the issue there is Sunny's tendancy to herd, bark and nip while Beau charges around!  It was really funny to see all 3 together at Christmas, lined up for treats, moving their heads in unison.
   This has gotten too long, but I wanted you to know what joy Sunny has brought to our family.  It all started with Aussie Rescue!

    Keep up the good work- Chris Read