Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aslan, the Dog With the Irrepressible Smile

It was a good day for me when sweet-natured Henry got adopted in the May of 2007. He, like so many other cats and dogs, had ended up at the shelter but his family never came for him. The staff didn’t know his former name, but thought that Henry suited this energetic and loving lab mix. A few weeks later, another family signed adoption papers agreeing to love and care for Henry. Henry had an air of positivity that emanated from his two-year-old smile that made even the cynic in me believe that it would all work out for him. I smiled as he jumped into the car and rode away to his new life with his new family. In the animal rescue business, you are so excited at each victory, but rarely have time to enjoy it, as there are more neglected or abused animals that need help.

That is why when I got the call from the shelter about a family that had moved and dropped off a dog that they adopted from us two years prior, I did not make the connection. If he were not microchipped, I wouldn’t have thought it was Henry. You see, microchips don’t lie, and that Monday was not such a good day. I remembered that day he went off smiling to his new life. Though this dog—now known as Aslan—still had the hint of a smile, he looked like he’d been through a little more than he could bear.

After I picked him up, I took Aslan to an “interview” to see if he would get along with other dogs at Camp Bow Wow, where we occasionally board some of our dogs seeking foster homes. I crossed my fingers as I watched how he reacted to the pack of dogs that rushed up to him when he entered the dog play room. This must be something that parents feel as they watch their children walk into the school yard on the first day of kindergarten.

His tail was straight up and wagging nervously as the pack checked him out. I held my breath, but soon exhaled in relief when he went down on his front paws with his bottom in the air. The simple action is known amongst dogs as a “play bow,” which is a clear and friendly invitation to play. He passed, and I saw that same smile of his that let me know that everything would work out for him. His smile is contagious and so is his bright, can-do spirit. He is still looking for that family that will keep him for the rest of his life, but he has a certainty that is infectious. I’m convinced that this happy-go-lucky fellow will find that loving family soon, and will keep that positive outlook of his until it happens!

Autumn Wagner
Adoptions Director


  1. What a cutie! I so wish I could take him! We have rescued 5 dogs and they are the best thing we could have ever done! We will always pursue the shelter route! Best dogs ever! I can't wait for him to find his forever home! Keep us posted!

  2. I fostered Henry back in 2007! He was too dang cute. We have a lot of squirrels in our backyard and our neighbors commented that the entire day, he walked around the backyard with his head up just watching them.

    Reading about him made me go back through my old photos! http://www.flickr.com/photos/hculligan/sets/72157623776376401/

  3. I love Aslan!!! Thank you for featuring him this week. I know he will find his forever home soon.

  4. Hi everyone! My name is Shamma. I adopted Aslan in May 2007. My mother had to give him up due to an illness in the family. I was 16 when he was taken out of my life. I would love to know where he ended up. This will help mend my broken heart. If only he was still up for adoption. He would enjoy the big yard I currently have.

    Thanks everyone!

    you can email me @ shammaespinal@gmail.com

    I miss my aslan after all these years I know he's safe somewhere