My first experience with HSHV started long before Kirk joined our family – as a child with a debilitating fear of dogs, adopting a dog was never in the picture for me. Enter Abby, a sweet black lab/terrier mix whom my parents adopted from HSHV when I was in 5th grade as a gift to my brother and the final “push” to get me over my fear of dogs after successfully completing dog therapy (yes, such a thing does exist). Abby was the textbook definition of “the perfect dog” and, long story short, she turned a young girl who previously had to cross the street or leave the park at the at the sight of a (leashed) dog into the biggest puppy supporter and dog-lover around.

Fast forward 15 years and my husband (at the time fiance) decide it’s time to expand our family with the addition of a dog. We knew going into our search that with our work schedules a puppy wasn’t in the cards for us, and being the over-thinker and a “need to know everything before making decisions” type of person, a significant amount of research went into our dog search. Having had such a life changing experience with HSHV and Abby previously I knew that a rescue dog was the only way to go – however we wanted a little more control/information regarding the type, age, size, personality, history, potty training, behaviors, etc. than typically available when adopting a dog from a shelter.

After a several months of failed “dog interviews” with rescues and fosters around southeast Michigan we were feeling like we were never going to find the dog that was right for us. I was starting feel pretty downtrodden about the whole situation and on a whim we decided to pop in to HSHV to look at a dog I had saw on their website (full well knowing that it wasn’t the right dog for us). As we walked around looking at the dogs in the kennels, we came across several dogs in individual crates – turns out the Love Train had made a puppy delivery from Kentucky a few days before and these were the older dogs that hadn’t been adopted as quickly as their puppy counterparts. In one of those crates was Ringo, a brindle-coated dog with the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen, and I needed to know more about him. Well, turns out they literally knew nothing about this dog, including the fact that his transfer papers had him listed as a SHE. After spending a little bit of time with him, we knew that this was our dog – no, he didn’t fit our plan of knowing everything about him, but we knew we weren’t going to let anyone else take him home, and we signed his adoption papers that day. 24 hours later, we were taking him home and Ringo became Kirk.

While we’ve encountered our challenges with adopting a dog with no known history (i.e., discovering and learning to train/provide coping mechanisms for a dog with reactive behaviors and how to build confidence around strangers – thank you, HSHV Reactive Rover classes!) there is no greater joy than seeing Kirk be his goofy, wiggly self and knowing that he is happy. Kirk joined us in our cross-country move from Ann Arbor to Seattle, WA where he is the happiest when hiking through the mountains, running around in his backyard, and lounging with us on the couch. Kirk has come a long way since being a stray on the streets of Kentucky, and we are so glad that we are able to be part of his journey.


Ringo now Kirk