Katherine and Archie from California

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Human: Katherine

Canine: Archie

Location: California

Type: Australian Shepherd / Mutt mix

Our Story:

My husband and I had been looking for a dog for months. We’d read up on breeds and decided we wanted a smallish pooch who didn’t shed much, didn’t need too much exercise, and would take easily to training. We visited several shelters and rejected all kinds of dogs as “not quite right.” In truth, I was stalling–I wasn’t sure I wanted the responsibility of a dog. But the husband wouldn’t give up.

One Saturday we stopped by the Berkeley Humane Society. They told us they had a couple of new dogs. The first time we laid eyes on Archie, he was jumping straight up in the air, over and over again, trying to see what was on the other side of the five-foot wall surrounding him. He had enormous ears, big brown eyes, a curly tail, and a goofy grin.

We took him for a walk. Along the way he met another dog, and put his paw on the dog’s shoulder. “How cute,” I thought, “he’s making friends.”

Actually, he was trying to dominate the dog. Archie is a shepherd/akita/husky/cattle dog mix. That means he’s got energy to burn and is willful, dominant, and extremely smart. He also sheds like crazy. In short, he’s a far cry from the unobtrusive little creature we thought we wanted. But I liked that he was so intensely interested in the world around him, and so we took him home.

The first months were rocky. There was the day Archie galloped after birds for 45 minutes in a tidal wetland, chest-high in mud and ignoring my attempts to call him back. The time on a hike when he took off after a deer and we thought we’d never see him again. But my neighbor, who is a dog person deep in his bones, called it right. “Give it some time,” he said. “You’ll give your left kidney for that dog.”

Yep.