Sir Halen, Champion of Our Hearts
Socializing rescue dogs at the boarding facility is a bittersweet deal. While some of them are only there a night, those without fosters wait patiently. In the meantime, volunteers keep the dogs’ spirits high, bring them bones and beloved wooly toys, and function as the daily bridge between our guests’ past lives and new beginnings.
I’m always happy/sad to say goodbye when the time comes, but that’s how it works.
Except for Halen.
Sometime over the winter, this regal dude was dumped at a shelter. According to people within earshot, the woman cited her reasoning for surrender was that she was splitting up with her husband. Sadly, Halen’s dad wasn’t privy to any knowledge of his companion being signed over for potential euth’ing. Why? Because he was kinda busy serving our country on a military deployment — putting it mildly.
Low down and dirty.
Rescue workers moved quickly to make sure Halen was safe. The last thing anybody wanted was for the serviceman to return home grieving the needless loss of his dear pal.
When I met Halen after his arrival at the boarding facility, I instantly wanted to take him home so I wouldn’t ever have to spend another second without him. In my perfect world, we were gonna wile away our days shopping for giant horse-sized Kongs and drying jerky treats together. In fact, all the volunteers tried to figure out a way to get him out of boarding, but everybody shared various roadblocks — making the effort difficult. Instead, we decided to make it a point to give this guy the best “home” we could by visiting him daily and continuing to hold out hope for something better.
After a while, people started calling us “Halen’s moms.” If ever a dog needed “moms,” it was this one.
Every time I took Halen out to play, it couldn’t have been more obvious that his dad invested a lot of time working with him. He always wanted to show off his incredible manners, especially if there was a group watching. He ignored other dogs who yelled at him as he walked past. Once off the leash, his favorite thing to do was roll around like a pig with his enormous tongue hanging out. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would be capable of ditching him at a shelter. Ever.
A month or so went by, and the people who originally rescued our boy heard some amazing news: Halen’s dad discovered we had his guy. When I received the email from the group, I was working at my job outdoors. I’ll never forget standing there in the rotten weather, tears and rain dropping on the screen of my phone as I replied.
Later that day, I told Halen his dad was coming, but that he was gonna have to hang out with his moms a little while longer. Honestly, I’ve never been excited to give a dog good news before in my life. He mighta heard a bunch of Charlie Brown wah-wahs, but it made me feel pretty awesome anyway.
When one of our longtime volunteers learned she was moving out of state, she told me she was really upset about having to leave our giant lug. She said, “I need to say goodbye to Halen. I would love to see him when his dad gets back. That reunion will be adorable.” Indeed, it will.
Sadly, Halen’s dad is forbidden from disclosing any information regarding his location or when he will return, but we, along with the generosity of the boarders, have vowed to thank him for his service by protecting his best friend at all cost. Until his dad comes home, Halen is part of our pack.
Like I said, I’m always happy/sad to say goodbye. This time, though, will be the happiest and saddest of them all.
More to follow about the Halen experience. Thanks to DFW Rescue Me, the Storms, the shelter staff, Halen’s other moms: Audrey and Rachael (as well as Danny, Lacy, CJ, Leila, Jen, Aaron, Helen, Jon, Kim, Jill, Merrin, Russell, Bella, and Rhonda for taking time to make sure he’s well-loved), and, of course, Toothacres.
If you would like to foster Halen, we are looking for someone with experience and a home with no other animals or small children. He is a kind, docile creature, yet caring for this guy is no small task for a novice. Contact DFW Rescue Me to complete a foster application.
If you would like to donate toward the rather expensive cost of maintaining Halen’s welfare, including the provision of heart worm and flea preventative, large bones, treats, extra large dog toys, and additional veterinary care, please follow this link. Thanks!