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Sundance and Shadow… Transformed by Freedom!

When the IMHS kennels aren't full, the staff commonly looks for dogs at overcrowded shelters who might not have much of a shot at life. Such was the case with Sundance and Shadow. While Labrador retrievers are considered highly adoptable, this pair had a few special circumstances that caused them to get overlooked by adopters time and time again. And, at some of these shelters, being overlooked for too long can be a very bad thing.

The first strike against these boys was simply their age. They were about 9 years old, and many people don’t see the many advantages of adopting senior dogs. Strike number 2 was that they were bonded to each other, as they had been together their whole lives. For the most part, dogs are adopted one at a time, and a family willing to adopt one dog may not be willing to take two. Strike number three was probably the toughest – Sundance has Cushing’s disease, and while it can be treated, it can’t be cured.

Cushing’s disease causes an increase of hormones, most specifically cortisol, which leads to a variety of symptoms that were obvious in Sundance. IMHS didn’t want these three strike dogs to languish or die in a shelter, but they did really need to understand the impact of bringing them here. Finding the perfect forever home would likely require quite a bit of time and effort. Finding the best treatment plan would require expensive testing and medications. Since they might be at IMHS for quite some time, this meant that IMHS wouldn't have room for other, more adoptable dogs who also need homes. Quite the conundrum! Once again, IMHS rises to the challenge and decides to save these two irresistible dogs!

On June 2, 2016, Sundance and Shadow arrived at IMHS and it was all hands on deck. Multiple vets were involved in the general health checks for both dogs along with specialized testing and medication/ treatment plans for Sundance. All the while staff and volunteers took time to pamper them both. Extra cushy, comfy kennel setups, plenty of toys, walks and kennel cuddles, consistent feeding and they were settled in quickly. Weather was constantly monitored – Sunny’s illness had caused quite a bit of fur loss, so care was taken to keep him out of the sun and old shirts were sewn to custom fit him in order to allow him and Shadow some yard time! These two proved to be true gentleman and quickly found a large fan base here in the foothills.

Switch scene to long time foothill resident, Diane T. When she found herself once again ready to bring a dog into her life she decided to check out the IMHS web page, where she was immediately attracted to Shadow. And could it be fate – her brother had a great lab named Shadow, maybe this was meant to be! Off she went to IMHS, where she heard the entire story of Sunny and Shadow. So, if she wanted Shadow, she would need to take Sunny, who would need to be monitored and on medication the rest of his life. Her initial desire was to get just one dog, but their story touched her heart. It was a bit overwhelming, so she left the shelter that day, but Sunny and Shadow stayed in her thoughts. And stayed, and stayed. And the more she thought about it, well, she just couldn’t come up with enough good reasons NOT to adopt them, so decided another visit was in order. This time, with husband Jim to introduce him to these two large labs. Her second visit really clinched it, the dogs were quite happy to see her again, and at that moment, she just knew this family was meant to be!

When she brought Sunny and Shadow to their new home they were a bit shy and reserved, and sticking to each other like glue. Just like at the shelter, they wouldn’t eat unless they were in sight of each other, they slept next to each other every night, and even walked next to each other in rhythm. While they initially slept in the living room, each night they seemed to move closer and closer to Diane and Jim’s bedroom, and are now happily sharing the bedroom with them. Diane is just waiting for the morning she wakes up to find them both IN the bed! They are now feeling great about their new forever home!

They go outside frequently during the day and have a routine of inspecting the property with their new mom. They walk the large property, and while the dogs still keep an eye on each other, they now also have an eye on mom too. And if she doesn’t keep up with them, or she stops to look at the view, they will stop as well. The best times are times when EVERYONE is in sight! A few rounds of fetch, some rolls in the grass, and Sunny and Shadow are happy to be back inside, sit nicely for a biscuit and lounge around the house with their plush beds, toy collections, and especially – their humans! The joy and devotion held by both 2-legged and 4-legged creatures in this house is obvious. The people and dogs are simply thriving, and with a new forever home and stress free life, Sunny’s health is improving and his fur is starting to grow back. The transformation is obvious!

IMHS is so thankful to Diane and Jim for becoming the perfect forever family for these sweet loving senior dogs. We thank her for showing everyone that taking a chance on special needs pets is so worth it! According to Dianne, "Following my heart instead of my head is the best thing I ever did for them and me!"

In order to help IMHS continue this kind of life saving work, please donate today!

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