In the Fall of 2002 my husband Tad and I puchased a house in San
Francisco and were able to realize our long-time dream of adopting a dog.
Since we had agreed to adopt a dog in need, I had already done loads of
research on local dog adoption sites to get an idea of what
organizations were out there and what sort of options were
available to us. During the weekends we'd also visit our local
Humane Societies to search for possible candidates.
One day, I found a heartwarming description in the 'rescue' section on bayareasiberian.org for a mixed-breed malamute-golden retriever named "Asayuk". Tad's criteria for the ideal dog? A large fuzzy wookie to play with. Asayuk seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I sent the url to my husband and the following weekend we found ourselves several counties away in Sonora, surrounded by a happy herd of huskies at Asayuk's foster home. Asayuk was painfully shy, but a couple hours into the visit he worked up the courage to curl up next to me and let me pet him a bit. The week afterwards we returned to Sonora and brought Asayuk - now renamed Ely - home with us.
Ely slowly relaxed into his new urban lifestyle, gradually building up his confidence in his Family Dog 1 class. We quickly discovered Ely's love of walks, stuffed animals, sitting under tables at your feet, running around with his 'pack' a couple times a week with his dog walker, catching bugs, getting pet by little kid-hands, and dozing on his 'tuffet' or sleeping in his crate. Given husky's well-known prey drive, we were shocked at Ely's immediate adoption of his new feline housemate, Soosh. He's became a quick favorite at the groomers and a hit at the various parks we frequent. Although we jokingly call Ely "our rug" in deference to his amazing ability to mimic a shag rug while he naps, Ely's easygoing nature made him a natural fit into our family (his other nickname is "Mr. Mild"). Sometimes he's still a little shy with strangers, but our bouncy, happy, vocal goofball is a totally different dog from the introverted, cautious, underweight beast we brought home in September.
Months after Ely became a part of our family, we found out a little bit more about his past. Now a healthy 75-80 pounds, Ely had weighed closer to 40 pounds when he was picked up off the street in Santa Clara earlier in the year. Nic, the rescue coordinator and Ely's first saviour from BASHR, sent me the pictures to the right taken on the day he was brought home from the shleter (the other handsome dog is one of Nic's brood). Nic reported Ely seemed to have "lost the will to live" when he pulled him out of the shelter. (Notice in the pics how Ely can't seem to lift his head to look at people? It turned out Ely was overly-wary of men, so Nic set him up with Jaques - a woman fostering BASHR dogs in Sonora - where Ely was much more comfortable.) Looking at Ely today, as he stops every block on his daily walks to politely accept petting and fawning over from his many fans in the neighborhood (both men and women), it's hard to believe Ely ever approached life any other way than with trust and quiet happiness. - rl.
* Some other pics from his 2nd foster home in Sonora
Ely at his rescue house after being
pulled from the Shelter. Spring 2002
Ely today. Dec 2003
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