Last Save of the Year


Last save of 2023: that honor belongs to Seamus, a 2-year-old Border Collie mix.
The first photo is the intake photo from a large well known Minnesota rescue doing high volume adoptions. Like most of the animals this place deals with, Seamus was from a rescue down South, and came up to this state to try his luck to find a loving home. He was adopted by an older guy named Ron and his wife, who lived in a condominium complex.
Seamus was well cared for and well loved by his new family but tragedy struck a few months ago when the wife developed cancer and died not long after. Seamus was a great source of support for Ron during this difficult time.
Being a sensitive and highly intelligent Border Collie mix, Seamus surely felt the stress and grief in the home after Ron's wife died. There were complaints about Seamus' barking from some of Ron's condo neighbors even though there were several other dogs in the building who barked more, according to Ron. Then while riding in the elevator with Ron after his wife had died, Seamus reportedly leaped at a cleaning personnel from the building, grabbing her by the coat sleeve and leaving a bruise. This action was unprecedented behavior from Seamus.
The condo association, already full of individuals intolerant of Seamus' barking, now demanded that Ron either get rid of his dog or find a new place to live. Ron owned his condo but it made little difference if those in control of the association handed down an edict. They apparently would not negotiate or give Seamus another chance. Ron was distraught and felt cornered, his only choices to move or put the 2 year old Seamus to sleep. Ron knew Seamus was undeserving of this fate and especially after all the friendship the dog provided during the sorrowful loss of Ron's wife and the aftermath.
Ron went back to the Minnesota rescue where he had adopted Seamus- but they refused to help or take Seamus back into their care. He tried numerous other Minnesota rescues but was turned down by them all after reporting the incident involving the cleaning person in the elevator.
If organizations who place dogs and cats won't take them back or offer help when the adoption runs into problems, then they are not "rescuing" animals but selling them. And in fact, by not standing behind the animals they are putting into the community, they are falling short of even an appliance store- or even a place like Office Depot, who at least offer warranties of two years or more for the products they sell, To bring animals up to a new state from afar and then abandon them if the dog or cat can't keep their adoptive home is not rescue but selling and with even less of a an assurance for the outcome and future of that dog or cat than an appliance store offers on a washer/ dryer or a refrigerator or an office supply store offers on a fax machine or scanner.
It wasn't just Seamus abandoned in this situation but Ron too, who had already suffered the loss of his wife from cancer and was now feeling abandoned and alone in this predicament, facing having to kill his dog or give up his home. It felt like a desperate choice, a no win choice for him.
In talking with Ron and in reviewing what had happened, it seemed like Seamus' behavior was an outlier and that he was capable of and deserving of forgiveness and another chance, even if it couldn't be at the condo or with Ron, let alone with the organization that had sold him to Ron. We don't say adopt or rescue because abandoning this dog and his heartbroken owner to twist in the wind served neither the dog nor the family who had tried their best and now needed support.
Without any other options for the dog, Home For Life Animal Sanctuary again stepped in to deflect what we viewed as an unfair outcome for such a young, loyal and good dog who had stood by his owner during a heartbreaking time of losing his wife to cancer.
Once again, we called on our friends at Liberty K9 MN who welcomed Seamus about 10 days ago. Ron brought him up to Duluth and signed him over to Home For Life Animal Sanctuary who has taken custody of Seamus. He will spend the next 6 weeks with the team at Liberty K9 MN in their training program where we can get a better idea of what he is like and what he needs to succeed.
Upon arrival, the team at Liberty described a dog very much lacking in confidence. He had no doubt observed and felt the sadness of Ron who had lost his wife, the uncertainty and grief about the future as Ron tried without success to find a safe landing for the dog and faced the possibility of euthanizing his best friend and probably Ron's frustration when he faced losing his home and was unable to find help anywhere.
No doubt Seamus was confused to now have lost both his family members, his home and to now be in a new situation, not knowing what to expect. He had felt the grief, confusion, dread and frustration in his old home but didn't know how to process what he was sensing. Part of his rehabilitation will be to restore his confidence by helping him make sense of his world now, so he knows what to expect what is expected of him and so he can trust the situation and respond appropriately. As you can see from the photos, Seamus has already readily responded to sensible, kind handling and is learning tons and having a great time, especially on the nature walks around the facility!

"Rescued" in animal welfare is not the same as being saved. Look at Seamus: at the age of just over two years he had been "rescued" twice. Those are the rescues we know about. Yet his life was at risk again and he was facing an untimely death at age 2. An organization should model the commitment to and bond with the animals they take under their care that they expect the community to emulate and support. Let's not call it rescue if what is really occurring is selling dogs and if the product turns out to be "defective" then too bad, the dupe who "adopted" the animal is on their own.
Instead of 2024 starting without Seamus, he is now saved and safe with Home For Life Animal Sanctuary. Stay tuned for more heartwarming photos and updates about this good and loyal soul who needed a third chance and found it with us.


Seamus arrived at Home for Life on February 15, and photos were taken at the sanctuary. Seamus is
Home for Life!

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