The Long and Winding Road
Kari and Harley came to adoptions one day to say hello. It was great to see them. Could that be the same dog? No way. It couldn’t be! But it was.
A volunteer asked, is that a Second Chance dog? Who would give him up? I laughed to myself and said “you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.” But I think Hoss’(Harley’s)story is one worth telling.
It takes me way back. I bet Hoss was an adorable puppy. Just a little black ball of fur. A perfect puppy born into an imperfect world. Homeless, just like millions of other puppies born without a plan. For Hoss it was to be a long and winding road.
A vet estimated Hoss to have been born sometime in 2001. Our first knowledge of Hoss was of a black lab following a man’s truck home. That man happened to live near Dawn, a friend of Ann Klouser’s, one of our devoted volunteers. The man had dogs of his own, and didn’t need more, he told his neighbor Dawn. Hoss would have to go.
Dawn often found Hoss in her house, as he would come over to play with her 3 dogs and follow them through the doggie door. Dawn cared for Hoss, but her husband said 3 dogs were enough, so she asked Ann for help. And that is how Hoss became a Second Chance dog. He arrived at the ranch in 2002. From the beginning it was obvious that Hoss was a special dog.
Handsome, sweet, and so athletic; he could jump as high as a six foot fence. But he settled in with his perfect roommate, Trixie; a sweet, beautiful black lab/pitbull mix. For a while it looked like they would be together forever.
On May 31, 2003, Hoss was adopted to a young couple who lived in an upscale loft in Midtown. Upon returning from work, they would find Hoss roaming the corridors. How he got out of his crate and unlocked the door was a mystery. They got the approval to put a padlock on their loft door, something the management usually didn’t allow. But Hoss continued to escape from his crate, and was not happy being alone. Hoss was returned in January of 2004 and reunited with his roommate Trixie at the rescue ranch.
In July of 2004, a tennis pro filled out an application for Hoss. After many interviews, Hoss was again adopted on July 31, 2004. The tennis pro said he was looking for a fun, outgoing dog that would be his life long buddy. That was exactly what Hoss was looking for too! What a match! So we thought. It looked good for a while. But Hoss had already had a lifetime of being alone. He started escaping from the condo. His tennis pro human would put Hoss in his crate, say goodbye, lock the front door, and go to the tennis courts on the property. About 15 minutes later he would look up and see Hoss sitting by the fence just watching him hit the ball. This time Second Chance stepped in and supplied a wonderful trainer who worked with Hoss and his humans. They all worked hard for months. Things got better, then worse, then better, then much better, then the tennis pro’s girlfriend showed up at adoptions one day with Hoss. It was November of 2004 and Hoss went back to the ranch to catch up with Trixie again. He had been so close this time.
On March 20th, 2005, we spent hours interviewing someone who was interested in adopting Hoss. She took him home and brought him back a week later. Enough said.
Hoss and Trixie were a twosome by now. So, in September of 2005, when a couple offered to foster some dogs, we naturally thought of Hoss and Trixie. They were perfect. They wanted Trixie and Hoss. Volunteers broke into tears at adoptions when they took Trixie and Hoss home. It was wonderful. Everything was right with the world and Hoss and Trixie for over a year. Their new humans even came to the ranch to volunteer there. And then, just as abruptly as this new home appeared, they disappeared, returning Hoss and Trixie to adoptions one day. No explanation, but lots of mystery.
It was early 2007 and we were all in shock. Trixie was adopted. Hoss was at the rescue ranch, once again. This time alone.
On October, 13, 2007, a really nice person fostered Hoss. But what started as a really good try turned into a 3 day failure. By now, Second Chance had adopted out over 2000 dogs. And we had only 5 nonadoptables that would live their lives out at the ranch. That is pretty good considering we take back all of our adopted dogs if the adoption doesn’t work out. That is a policy we enforce with vigor. Never once did I give up on Hoss.
On November 11, 2007, he was back at adoptions. Finally, perseverance paid off. A lady named Kari saw Hoss and ran to his crate. She didn’t say anything for a long time. Then she showed us a picture of Hoss’s twin, a dog she had recently lost to cancer. A dog that had been trained to be an assistance dog, but his partner, Kari’s friend, had passed away. However, Kari had kept this dog until his death. Kari took Hoss home. She changed his name to Harley. Things came naturally to Harley. According to Kari, Harley had never been allowed to be a smart as he was capable of being. She never crated him and never left him alone. Harley went to work with Kari, as she owns her own business. During the first seminar Kari held after adopting Harley, and not willing to leave him alone, she put a large table cloth over the check in table, hiding Harley under the table from security. After the meeting was over, having not made a sound, Harley finally stuck his nose out from under the cloth to say hello. Kari said everyone laughed and played with him from then on. To this day, as he celebrates his 8th birthday and 2 years with Kari, he is the office mascot, fierce protector of his mom, and the perfect gentleman to all he meets.
So…. that’s who gave up on Hoss/Harley and that’s who finally fell in love with this special animal. Many volunteers, a lot of love, a bit of luck, some good people, a perfect forever home, and one incredible dog. It certainly was a long and winding road.