I Support Pet Adoption

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Amazing shelter dog tails: Betty's Thanksgiving

November 28, 2009 – San Pedro, CA,


A fourteen-year old dog, who escaped being put to sleep, twice, is returned to its original owner after five years apart. The dog, known as, “Betty” who spent the past couple of months at the Harbor Shelter in San Pedro, CA and was destined to be euthanized, was returned today, to the owner, who had originally adopted her at age 3-months, fourteen years ago.

A string of unlikely events brought Betty back to the owner, Kathryn Owensby, who adopted her from a Modesto, CA animal shelter fourteen years ago. The owner then moved over four hundred miles from Modesto to Long Beach, CA and brought her dog with her. Five years ago, she was forced to leave her beloved Labrador-mix with friends, when she moved back to Northern California. Fast forward five years and the Owensby was finally in a position to ask if she could take her beloved, “Kimmy” back. The friends she left the dog with, said no.

A couple of months ago, a tired, arthritic, grey-muzzled, old, black labrador-mix was brought into the Harbor Shelter in San Pedro, CA. She was named Betty at the shelter. She patiently waited to be picked-up, day after day, until, finally, due to space and time-limitations, her time was up and she was scheduled to be euthanized. A volunteer at the shelter, Nichola Gore-Jones took Betty for what she thought was her last walk. When she returned to the kennel, she said a tearful goodbye to the old girl and gave her a pile of biscuits as a farewell gift. But something special about this grateful old dog made her go to the shelter supervisor and ask if Betty could have one more week, to give Gore-Jones time to network the dog on the internet. The supervisor agreed.

Gore-Jones said, “With so many dogs desperate to find homes, we can’t save them all, but there was something so appealing about Betty that made me want to give it one more try.”

One week passed and no one came to adopt the dog. Now scheduled to be euthanized on a Sunday, the volunteer was standing at Betty’s cage on the day prior, when a woman, recording artist, Terri Lee Holm, asked if the shelter had an appropriate dog for an 80-year old man. Gore-jones & the rescuers she was chatting with suggested Betty. Holm agreed, but said she couldn’t pick the dog up for a week. But the shelter can’t hold dogs to wait for them to be picked-up, so the volunteer said she’d pay to board the dog for the week at a local veterinary clinic, if only Holm would adopt her.

Following a week in boarding, Holm and Betty made the two-hour trip from Los Angeles to Big Bear, CA to meet Holm’s 80-year-old father, who, having recently lost a beloved dog, said he just couldn’t take Betty. She understood her father’s reluctance and decided to try to find another home for Betty, rather than return her to the shelter. The dog did have a microchip, so Holm contacted the microchip company and found a telephone number for a prior owner. She called the number and after more research and many phone calls, finally found the dog’s original owner on Thanksgiving Day, who informed her that she had been trying to get “Kimmy” (aka Betty), back for a several years, but the family she had left her with five years before refused to give her up.

Owensby, who still lives in Modesto, CA, happened to be in the Los Angeles area for the holiday weekend, so, on the day after Thanksgiving, Holm drove from Big Bear, CA to Paramount, CA to reunite Kimmy with her original owner, the one she had been adopted by at 3-months old, fourteen years ago.

Kimmy returned to her original family, to the now, 13-year old child she grew up with and to the loving arms of her ecstatic, original adopter, Owensby, who says, “I’ll never let her go again! She’s never going to have to worry about anything ever again.”

Gore-Jones says, “It took several twists of fate and the help of several animal lovers, for this wonderful Thanksgiving reunion to happen. To me, every dog is worth saving and just one happy ending makes it all worthwhile!”


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