2012 September 30
Texarkana, AR to Indianapolis, IN
Note: This story was updated in 2013 March, and again in 2013 August!
(We just uploaded a video of Skip meeting his new foster parent and canine siblings! See below.)
"Skip" is one of the coolest dogs we've ever met. An "English Shepherd" he is -- we didn't even know there was such a special breed. And there's a special rescue organization for them -- NESR (National English Shepherd Rescue). The care these folks took in finding Skip a new foster when he needed it was amazing. But part of the proof is that they called On Wings Of Care to transport him as safely and comfortably as possible! We were all set to fly him to his great new foster Frank in Indianapolis the weekend of September 29-30, as those were the dates that worked best for his current and future foster and for us. Mother Nature had other plans, as she placed horrendous storms along our flight path that weren't going to let up for days. But Skip's current foster needed to leave, and Skip needed to move. What else could we do? We decided we would bring along our two senior dogs Ford and Tilly (who love a car ride, or plane ride, or any kind of ride!) and we would all enjoy a road trip in our Prius. (That photo on the right is Skip's new foster siblings and dad!)
It was a great trip! Driving through all that weather was actually a treat, especially realizing how glad we were that we weren't trying to fly through it. But really, it was beautiful. And the three dogs got along perfectly. Skip captured our hearts immediately. He is brilliant, not just beautiful. Not to demean our dear old dogs, but they just wanted to snooze. Skip, on the other hand, after deciding that he really liked us and that this was turning out to be a great new gig for him, chose to sit up quietly and alertly and look around for most of the trip. He never stopped smiling at us, either. This is an extremely sound, stable, well-behaved dog! He loved the stops at rest areas for walks, no problem on the leash at all -- better than our spoiled seniors, I might admit.
He was so good that we started looking at each other thinking the same thing -- "If this foster doesn't seem terrific, we shouldn't let him go! This dog deserves the BEST!" And honestly, if we didn't already have four rescues of our own (three of whom are now seniors), we would have signed up immediately to adopt him. Skip is a terrific dog. But I think I said that already.
Frank turned out to be a fine foster. We weren't sure at first. He has two other dogs -- a male husky, and a female canadian inuit (looks like a white husky, sort of). Both large strong dogs built for pulling sleds. Frank's way of exercising them is to tie them both to his belt and let them mush! We just weren't sure this was the right gig for a shepherd dog. Seemed to us that Skip was more built to run alongside the sled and keep things and people from getting lost or falling behind. We also were concerned about inserting a second male into a bonded male-female pair. But we were persuaded differently, after about a half-hour of meeting and playing and letting Skip join the human sled team. It seems that sled dogs are happy to have another member join the team, provided he, er, pulls his own weight properly. By the time we left them at a wide-open grassy parking area outside of Indianapolis, we felt confident that Skip would be well cared for and would fit in just fine. But we missed him terribly!
If any of you wind up adopting him, please let us know. We did our homework after that on English Shepherds, and that's one kind of dog that will catch our attention forevermore. Many thanks to NESR and Frank for caring so much, for knowing how special Skip was, and for asking us to share in his next adventure. We'll post updates and new photos as we get them from Frank! Last word was that Skip was fully "in the groove" and a happy sled team member. No lack of exercise for Frank's dogs, or for Frank!
Here are more photos and a video of Skip meeting his new family.