Luna had a tough life in California before moving north of the border.
According to the limited paperwork available from Riverside Animal Shelter, she was picked up as a stray and impounded twice in 2014, and again in March 2015. Staff say the dog did have owners, but they just never bothered to pick her up when she got loose. So she languished behind bars.
Her saviour came in the form of volunteers from the Vancouver-based Big & Small Rescue, who sprung her from the high-kill shelter and transported her by van to start a new life in B.C.
The timing was fortuitous. Jhed Gerrior and his wife Krista were trolling animal adoption listings every day looking for a shelter pup.
Living in Williams Lake with their two kids, age seven and four, they knew they needed a very special dog to join their family. They adopted Luna in May, and now spend their weekends hiking and biking together.
In this edition of Rescue Me, Jhed describes in his own words what it’s been like taming a semi-wild shelter dog, and how love and discipline have transformed this pup into a four-legged family member.
I’ve been looking for a dog for some time when I found Luna. I didn’t really have a type or was specific about a certain dog though. I basically searched Kijiji daily and when I came across Luna I immediately liked her. I like the way she looked. I liked her size, and the Big and Small Rescue description said she was a really good dog.
All I really knew was that she was returned several times to the shelter and that she was from the U.S. and that she was an escape artist. I wasn’t too sure why she was returned.
When I first got Luna she was a little shy. It was and still is very obvious that she loves people. But she was most likely attention deprived (in her former home) and she had some bad manners, like jumping on people when she first meets them and being very excited inside the house. Not overly bad but just little things that could have easily been prevented with an owner that gave her time.
She also needed leash work. She pulled the entire walk and would easily get distracted by other dogs or cats. I have been working with her daily and now she heels. Her jumping has basically stopped. She is a high-energy dog so that’s a tough one. When walking her, her attention is now focused on the person holding the leash. We can walk by dogs, cats, people, and she maintains in a heel position. Luna’s personality hasn’t changed. I think she will always love people more than anything, but her manners have gotten a lot better.
I don’t think she was ever physically abused, just neglected. Luna is a high-energy, loving dog. She needs a leader. If you don’t have time for her, her manner problem would only get worse.
Luna loves to walk, or go on hikes. She likes to fetch. And she loves to sleep in my bed. We take her everywhere. She loves to ride in the back of the truck. I leave my tailgate down because she is always in and out of the box. When we open the door to go outside she runs right to the truck and jumps in. Even if it’s just to the store we take her. She’s a part of the family and she loves it.
That would be the case of an innocent person on death row. Luna is a great dog. I’m sure she always was. She just ran into several owners that didn’t know what they were getting into with a dog. They should have bought a cat, really. Luna needs stimulation. She takes work. But it’s fun work, like walks or obedience. She loves to please. Her previous owners probably had no idea what type of dog Luna could become. She just needed the proper chance.
If you do want to rescue a dog from a shelter then you have to know there is work ahead of you. Just like the work of a new puppy. If you can’t handle a new puppy you probably can’t handle a shelter dog. Some shelter dogs need less work than others. Luna needed work but it wasn’t hard or taxing. She just needed a leader and time. Shelter dogs are very rewarding. You can possibly be saving a life. Now that our family has bonded with Luna it would be heartbreaking to think she was almost put down.
Have your own amazing rescue story to share? Email pet columnist Darcy Wintonyk at darcyanne at gmail.com