Happy Tail: A couple fulfills a dream–and then some

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Crystal and Chris Herndon dreamed of having a dog when they moved into their first place together. He had always had pets, but she had never had one. When she and Chris decided the time was right, Crystal began reading articles on Petfinder about adopting a pet before they took the big step.

Winky seems to ask, “Who’s in charge here?”

Winky seems to ask, “Who’s in charge here?”

And then the day arrived; they went to a shelter. “I had my heart set on a large black Lab,” Crystal says, but she was polite when the adoption advisor showed her a Wirehaired Terrier mix in a crate. “When she opened the door, the dog ran into my arms and stuck her head on the crook of my motorcycle jacket and side.” Crystal’s best-laid plan dissolved.

“When my husband, sitting on a bench with his legs straight out, called to her, she cleared the distance straight to his lap.” Falon had won them over and had gained a home, thanks to her outgoing personality.

A year passed, and the couple went to an adoption fair in Emeryville, California. Another Wirehaired Terrier mix from Hopalong Animal Rescue in Oakland, “spent all his time with his hands on my lap, looking devotedly into my eyes,” Crystal says. Who could resist? Chris hurried home and brought Falon back to meet the dog to see if they were compatible. “The two acted like brother and sister right away. It was meant to be because they didn’t like any other dogs there besides each other. “Oakley” went home with them.

When the couple moved to a small town in the California mountains, they began thinking about adding one more pet to the family. “We found Winky on Petfinder,” Crystal says. She was listed by Have-a-Heart Humane Society. “She was a bottle-fed red tabby who we believe was around 8 months old and possibly part Ragdoll. She is extremely loving and took to wresting with Falon and cuddling with Oakley right away-a little to his dismay, I think.”

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Tallulah loves giving kisses!

They rounded out their pack with a visit to the Los Angeles County Animal Control in Lancaster. “Tallulah was in a crate with another dog. We did a meet-and-greet in a 4×4 enclosure. When I tried testing for food or toy aggression, she took no interest. All she wanted was to be close to us.” That was enough; they took her home.

Tallulah was very fearful of being left and would wrap her front legs around Crystal’s legs to keep from being separated. She was also afraid of a leash, so the couple spent lots of time helping her adjust. These days, Tallulah is a different dog. The Golden Retriever/Rough Collie mix loves the dog park and the beach. She also loves the other dogs and Winky. “In fact, she will kiss Winky when she walks by, which pretty much involves Winky’s whole head,” Crystal says.

Falon, in particular, has helped Crystal deal with anxiety. “She was actually the reason I was able to leave the house years ago when I was on disability. She went with me everywhere and helped me adjust during the first and hardest year of my treatment.”

Crystal and Chris wanted a dog-and now they have three, plus one cat. They have more than fulfilled their dream and have helped four homeless pets find happiness.