Fourteen-year-old Sally Van Horne knew what she wanted: a dog. “I harassed my parents for one,” the Hamilton, ON, woman says, and when they finally agreed, she knew right where to look for one: online at Petfinder. The dog she fell for was Ernie, a five-year-old Jack Russell Terrier.
“Instantly my parents were apprehensive just because of the breed,” she says, “but I researched and convinced them it was worth the trip to at least visit him.” They made the trip to Burlington[ON] Animal Shelter, fell for and adopted him.
“The second we got home he wanted to play ball, and so we did in the muddy October yard,” Sally says. The photo is of his first bath after that session in the mud.
“I think his story is an excellent example of giving a dog a chance,” Sally says. The breed has a reputation for naughty behavior, but he came already trained, which was a distinct plus. He knew basic commands, but the family has “broadened his knowledge, and Ernie now enjoys agility and flyball. He loves to spend hours outside playing fetch and he always looks forward to his daily walks in the creek by our house.”
Now, four years later, Sally is away at University and misses Ernie. “I always look forward to the weekends of break when I can make it home to spend time with him and my family,” she says.
Ernie is now nine but is still the same energetic dog she first met, and she calls rescuing him one of the family’s most rewarding experiences. “We cannot imagine our lives without his silly antics,” she says. How lucky for Ernie that Sally was willing to stand up for a breed with a mischievous heart but an older dog as well.