Some dreams take longer to come true.
Thanks to donors like you, Oslo’s dream of a loving family is now a reality.
Long-timers hold a special place in our hearts, and eventually in the hearts of adopters who are fortunate enough to connect with these forgiving, resilient animals. Most have survived trauma through cruelty or neglect or both, and need time, patience, and the expert care of people dedicated to their recovery. They also need you, our donors, who generously invest in the possibility of a better, happier life for all animals in our community.
This is the story of one such dog.
In November of 2021, our partners at Clark County Animal Control seized several dogs from a property in Vancouver. They were living in a shed in filthy, life-threatening conditions. Sixteen months after arriving at HSSW, the last of those dogs – a fearful yet gentle shepherd mix called
Mr. Oslo – found his new home.
Oslo arrived without serious physical concerns. His nutrition had been poor, and he had been confined to a tiny space, but his emotional well-being concerned our team.
“Dogs like Oslo have endured trauma,” said Valerie Peck, Animal Behavior Manager at HSSW. “Before we can help them adapt to a new lifestyle, we have to build a foundation of trust. To help Mr. Oslo, we introduced medication to help reduce his baseline fear and stress level and paired this with behavior modification techniques focused on creating positive emotional responses. Day-by-day, over months, we were able to build a relationship with him and slowly introduce him to new experiences. With dogs like Oslo, we have to take it at their pace – only taking steps when they show us they’re ready.”
With the guidance of our behavior team, Oslo slowly made friends with both people and other dogs. He began spending days in offices with our staff, learned to sit and gently take treats, and went on adventures away from the shelter with dedicated volunteers.
However, the shelter environment can be very stressful, and Oslo’s anxiety was taking a toll. It was hard to imagine how he would ever find a family if he could not completely relax. Fortunately, a dedicated volunteer offered to foster him. Outside of the shelter he found the quiet and calm he needed to continue his training. He was loved and supported in a real home, and for the first time since his rescue, Mr. Oslo was finally able to settle.
Months passed and while he was thriving in his foster home, he still hadn’t found his people.
And then Oslo met Thomas and his family.
“In an effort to take it slow, I came to HSSW with just my two youngest boys to meet him first,” recalled Thomas. “His kind demeanor and big brown eyes melted my heart. We went for a walk with Oslo and the team from HSSW and when we were done and went to part ways, he pulled towards us like he wanted to come with us. It was all over from there. We knew it was meant to be from our first meeting.”
After a few more meetings, Mr. Oslo got better acquainted with Thomas, his family, and their dog Kira. It was clear their bond was special.
After more than a year recovering from abuse and neglect, Mr. Oslo found his happy home.
Without you, we could not offer the kind of support required to give dogs like Oslo the opportunity for a life filled with love and dignity. His success story and thousands more every year are possible only because of the generous support of donors like you.
Please make a gift today to help all of the animals in our care find their perfect family.