New Life For A Once Condemned Dog

| 8/31/2011 12:50:50 PM

We went to Buena Vista, Colorado, to help on a work day at the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Central Colorado where I am a volunteer.  Surprise, we now have four - yes that's right - four family members in addition to the two of us on our mountain homestead.  We never set out to have four dogs, but when you  bond with a special dog you can’t just ignore that development.  So the photo is of Echo, a two year old male German Shepherd Dog who is so happy now that he can hardly contain himself.

Echo was a stray, found his way to a farm where the farmer took him in and fed him until he discovered that Echo had a proclivity for chasing and killing chickens.  Kudos’s to the farmer who took him to a humane society shelter instead of doing worse to him for killing his chickens.  Echo was then at the shelter for a pretty long while up for adoption but no one seemed interested in adopting him.  Finally the manager of the shelter called me knowing I volunteered for same and asked if we could help as they couldn’t keep him much longer.  Echo was on a count down.   A couple of calls and next thing I knew I was driving him up to the rescue in Buena Vista to be adopted into a good home. 

The trouble was on that trip to Buena Vista, it enabled us to form a loose bond with each other.  He remained at the rescue for over a month - still not adopted, and when the work day came up we discussed adding Echo to our family/homestead and decided if he was still at the rescue when we got there we would adopt him ourselves, providing he could get along with our current dogs.  He did and we did.  His aloof character, which made him difficult to adopt, was tossed aside when he met Carol for the first time.  He gravitated right to her, gave a big sloppy doggy kiss and the deal was sealed. 
German Shepherds are known for their high level of intelligence and Echo is clearly no exception.  He was not house broken, but learned in one day potty etiquette.  He lacked obedience training but has picked it up very fast.  His desire to please is so peaked he can hardly contain himself.  He is totally at home on our homestead, gets along well and is learning fast.  I have never seen any dog so absolutely thrilled to be in a loving home where he is loved.  He has the potential to be the kind of boy that many people only have once in a lifetime.  He will be our fourth once in a lifetime dog we have had.  Never forgotten and a real stand out.  I’m not sure how we rate so many absolutely terrific dogs, but we have been very fortunate and Echo is no exception.

So our homestead has grown by one more very unique boy.  Our 14.5 year old girl has been doing poorly recently so we fear it won’t be long before we are a three kid family again.  A day that we dread terribly.  

So, meet Echo,  our new family member who has been repeatedly rejected, abandoned to a shelter, and who knows how he ever became a stray in the first place, and now a mountain homesteader, too.  Some people when they no longer want a pet simply turn them loose to fend for themselves.  Most end up in shelters and many of those end up euthanized.  People have come many times to see Echo, but always left without him.  After several months of being in the shelter/rescue system he now has a family who loves him beyond measure and will provide him a home forever.  He obviously knows he is now home and if his excitement could be converted to rocket fuel, we could easily put a rocket into orbit. 

If you want to follow Echo and our other family members you can follow us on our personal blog site,

Bruce McElmurray
9/7/2011 8:28:37 AM

Nina your story is a common one now days. I would suggest that if you can't locate a good home for your dog that you contact a local 'no kill' shelter in your area and surrender the dog. It will be better than your pet having to brave the cold of winter alone outside. It is heartbreaking to have to give a pet up but you will need to decide what is truly best for your pet.

Nina Barnhart
9/4/2011 2:34:12 PM

We own a pitbull female who will have to spend the winter in the cold outdoors if we do not find someone to take her. She has had all the necessary surgery to make her never be a momma she is going on 7 years old. She loves our Grand daughter so much and we have two of her siblings that will be indoors but we are getting to where we cannot care for another inside dog. We will be having a new baby in October and as most people know that means we must! watch and keep our eyes on the two we have in the house and are the center of all attention at this time. We are 83 and 77 years old and not the best of caretakers by not being as guick as we should be. This dog has been an outdoor dog all her life and guards our property with zest also does not like new critters coming into her space. She probably could be taught by someone who knows the breed. I don't know how from here you contact us? We live in Missouri near KCMO.

8/31/2011 4:59:07 PM

I am so very happy that Echo found his furever home with your family!! He is certainly one happy boy. My 2nd malamucte was also a rescue as was his older brother who passed away 2 weeks before we and Jasper adopted each other. May your canine family always be pleasantly spoiled without being completely rotten. Marlies.

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