Red was rescued by the Heigl Foundation and then boarded and trained at the Blue Dog Ranch in Burbank, Los Angeles while the search began to find him a forever home. This is how he got to meet his new owner, who worked at Pacific Coast Dog Rescue, an organization founded by Blue Dog Ranch owner David Roe:
Through my work at Pacific Coast Dog Rescue in Burbank, I met Red, a two-year-old red brindle American Staffordshire Terrier Mix. He caught my attention from day one. His muscular body, his cute face and his wonderful friendly, mellow character made me a fan and he became a favorite straight away.
I had been thinking for over a year about adding a new dog to our pack of two, Lilly (2) and Samson (10), and constantly checked pet adoption databases for the perfect fit. I wanted a dog that fitted into our lifestyle, was people-friendly, low maintenance and a perfect friend. I did not care about the age, gender, size or color of the animal.
After convincing my husband David to expand the family I kept my eyes open but was not in any particular hurry. I always saw Red at the rescue place in his run and I watched how he responded to his environment. I knew right away, THIS IS A GREAT BIG DOG. My sympathy turned to friendship when I started to walk him after work around the block. I was surprised that he was so well behaved and responded very nicely to my commands.
I spoke with the Adoption Manager and she welcomed my idea to adopt Red, but because we already had two dogs it was important to manage the process step by step. Our eldest dog Samson was not thrilled about young dogs, especially if they pushed him or bothered him with their playful attitude. He was at the point in life where he needed his peace and space and I knew that it would not be easy to place a young dog like Red with an older animal. As for Lilly, she was always looking to do silly things or for other dogs to play with. She couldn’t animate Samson to play with her anymore as he would just turn around and move to his favorite sleeping place.
After walking Red almost 3 times a week, I started bonding with him. I applied to adopt him and we officially started to integrate him into our family. It was important to introduce the dogs to each other slowly a couple of times on walks without any body contact, to make sure they felt safe, comfortable and happy around each other. First, we took Samson and Red for walks, then we introduced Lilly later. We were sure Red and Lilly would not have any problems and we were right! The next step was to introduce Red to our environment at home: he visited us 3 times before he officially moved in. With the support of the Adoption Manager, Ingrid Hurel and the trainer and founder of Pacific Coast Dog Rescue, David Roe, we succeeded in making the dogs feel comfortable around each other. Just to make sure that old grandpa Samson did not clash with the playful teenager Red we put baby gates between Red’s new room where we placed his crate and Samson’s living space at home. We didn’t hurry and we didn’t push the dogs at all. We took 2 months to place Red in our home and now I can say: THIS IS THE PERFECT DOG for our family.
He is adjusting perfectly and is open and curious about all new things – every day. We are careful not to overwhelm him with too many new things and we try to be calm, relaxed but assertive. We stick to his training plan and work with him twice every day for 15 minutes. We set boundaries and limitations to make sure he feels safe and happy.
He is doing much better with his anxiety issues (he talks!), he got used to car rides in a week, he plays with Lilly very gently and is doing pretty well next to Samson – being very good on the leash during his walks. His daily routine helps him to stay calm and happy. He is always smiling and his tail never stops wagging!
Yurda & David Henzel