1st photo is Chance on the day that Christina Dickinson found him in the barn.

2nd photo is Chance in his forever home.

Maggie, all healed, with her loving, forever family!

Sunshine all cozy and comfy in her home.

Fiona, formerly Mow Mow, enjoying life in her purr-fect forever home!

1st photo is of Buddy on the day he went to his loving, forever home.

2nd photo is Buddy with his pal Calli.

3rd photo shows the transformation of Buddy from the scared little dog to a more confident boy!

Give a Dog a Chance

Chance came to HCHS when President Christina Dickinson received a call from a woman saying that workers found a white dog in their barn.  When Dickinson got to the barn, she found a terribly emaciated, injured Boxer.  He was scared and wary, but with a few hot dogs, he got into her vehicle.

Chance’s journey to finding a forever home was long and arduous.  He first had to overcome his emaciation and timidity.  After a week, Chance began to allow volunteers to begin loving on him  It didn’t take long for everyone to decide that Chance would be a forever memorable boy!  He got some special food, went on gradually longer walks, and was finally cleared to have his leg operated on and to be neutered.  This was a big day for Chance….it meant that once he was healed, the officers could start looking for that special home to call his own.

Many people inquired about Chance, and it was a difficult task to weed through the wonderful potential adopters to find the perfect one for Chance.  But….on July 5, four months after he came into the shelter, Chance got to go home.

MAGGIE ADOPTED APRIL 16….a true angel!

Maggie’s story….

On November 30, 2015, we got a call from a young lady in Little Sioux named Maggie who found a little terrier that had been hit by a car and had found her way to this sweet girl’s yard.

The young lady claimed this was the same dog who had been running stray for over a year in town. Many had tried to catch her over the past months with no luck. Some people put out food for her, and others just let her be. The residents in this area claimed she had probably been left when a family moved, and the little dog may have become feral. She lived alone in this abandoned shed, and ate scraps from garbage cans. Until the day that started out being the worst day of her life, later became the best day of her life.

Due to the terrible snow storm that day, and all of us volunteers at work, we were in desperate need of someone to transport the little dog to the vet for us. So we put out a plea on Facebook for someone to please help! A sweet gentleman by the name of David King contacted us, and he braved the weather and road conditions to drive from Missouri Valley to Little Sioux and back again to drop off the little dog at Willlow Park Vet Clinic.

Later that day we checked on the little dog and asked Doc Jack what the verdict would be for her. Not good: a broken leg and cracked pelvis. He said he could keep her comfortable for about 24 hours till we could find her owners, or make the decision to come up with a costly surgery guesstimated at around $4,000 or let her go!

So we turned to our Facebook community just go be sure she was the little dog with no home so many knew about. We had several phone calls telling us the little dog was hit two days before and left to die in the road. It broke our hearts! What could we do? We simply couldn’t spend so much on one animal! It’s just not fair for so many others who need us!

We often name the animals that come in after their rescuer, and so it was…. Maggie. We received so many calls and messages from people wanting us to try to earn the money for her surgery. We explained even if we raise $3,000 we wouldn’t be able to spend $1,000 on one dog. A few people suggested even if we do not make our goal, those funds could be set aside for the next emergency, so we set aside a special account for “Maggie’s Angels”. We called the Doc and asked for a little more time.

We had 48 hours to raise $4,000. And this close to Christmas, we were terrified we couldn’t do it! But people gave $10, $20, $200, $500 amounts! They stopped in to drop off checks, and sent them to our PayPal account, dropped off at our vet clinics! The community fell in love with a dog they never even got to meet! We don’t know if it was the Christmas spirit, or her terrible story, or everyone wants to experience a miracle, but it happened! That sweet little dog that was homeless, alone and afraid several days ago, raised herself enough money to see a specialist in Omaha!

At first the plan was going to be to amputate and fix the hip. But since she was able to have funds set aside for her special case, they were able to save her leg! What a miracle!

After surgery she got her own recovery unit in the office at HCHS. We were so worried about this sweet little girl who no one had even touched for over a year, how would she act? Would she be accepting of human affection? Well you be the judge.. Just look at her picture! She loves everyone! Men, women, children, and kitties! She loves to help with cat chores!

She was with us from November 30th till April 16th, she was adopted to the most awesome family we could ever ask for! Her doctor cleared her a week earlier for adoption, so we all had one week to say goodbye to our amazing little girl Maggie who taught us a community can come together and do amazing things!

A Dog Who Needs a Little Sunshine in Her Life Sunshine is a mystery.  When she was found, she was curled up on an outdoor sofa, so scared, emaciated, a tumor hanging off her chest.  She had dull eyes, was too scared to even walk out of her kennel to go outside to the bathroom, and she had no idea what human companionship was.  Was she feral?  Was she a breeder dog?  We’ll never know.  All signs pointed to the fact that she had been a mother many times over, but no babies were in sight.  As a shelter volunteer that summer, I worked with Sunshine each morning.  For the first two weeks, I carried her to the park so she could go to the bathroom, and then I carried her back to the shelter.  The only thing that gave her comfort was a plush toy that she carried everywhere.  After about two weeks, she started to walk to the park on her own, as she started to trust the shelter volunteers.  After another two weeks, she was walking a mile at a time. Sunshine was first adopted to an older gentleman on the other side of the state.  While he loved her, her anxiety and mannerisms were too much for him.  After a year, he contacted HCHS to see if Sunshine could return.  That’s when she became my dog. It took a while to get things situated for Sunshine.  She would bolt and get anxious on walks — a number of times she pulled me over and once it broke my ankle.  But I didn’t give up on Sunshine.  She is a protective dog who loves my other dog, Sexton.  So much so, that I believe that her reactions on walks was to protect her, since most of the problems occurred when we encountered other dogs or heard dogs barking.  Today I walk them separately and everything is good. Today Sunshine has bright eyes, is social, loves human companionship, and is a valued member of my household.  She still gets anxious at times, but we know how to deal with it.  I couldn’t love her more than I do! Nancy Voggesser

Mow Mow Gets Her Forever Home:

The summer of 2016 brought a trio of Persians and a Pomeranian to HCHS.  Their owner passed away suddenly, and the authorities called HCHS to take the animals.

Mow Mow came to the shelter with horrendously matted fur (she sported a “lion cut” for a time) and other medical conditions.  She was terribly shy and spent the first month huddled in her kennel.  After a while, she started to come out of her shell, venturing out of the kennel to explore the Cat Room.

After looking for the right fit for her forever home, Mow Mow (now known as Fiona Louise) is ruling the roost at the Debbie and Chris Auen home.  Fiona (known as Grumpy Cat by the grandchildren because of her frowny mouth) refuses to eat dry food and will even pick off every drop of wet food if it is mixed together!

Fiona’s mom says, “Her favorite food is Fancy Feast Chicken & Tuna and she digests the flaked best. In the morning while I sit and drink my coffee, she jumps up by me for her daily brushing.Next, off to her breakfast. Then she sleeps either on our bed or the couch. She gets another can of food at supper; if I get busy, no worries, she will remind meowing continuously until I’ve answered her request. In the evening she socializes.

“She is very nocturnal. The first night she really became comfortable with us, she went ballistic bouncing off furniture, meowing & making so much noise, I seriously thought we were getting robbed! It sounded like a grown man stomping through the house. She now does this most nights and we try and drowned it out with the fan.

“To this day she does not like to be picked up, not even by me. Maybe sometime.  It’s very hard to get a picture of her; when I try to she moves unless she is asleep. She has gained weight for sure. It’s visible but I don’t know exactly how much.  She has made our fur family complete & we sure are enjoying her!”

Buddy’s Story

Nearly two years ago, I decided it was time to open my home up to another furry kid. My Maltipoo needed a playmate – someone to keep her company. One day, I saw a precious little princess that could have been Calli’s twin online. She was cute, white, fluffy, 5 years old and wearing a sweater! I quickly sent a message to the Harrison County Humane Society to see if “Zoey” was still in search of her furever family. I was too late; she had already been adopted. But, you know what they say… everything happens for a reason.

Christina sent me a private message. She had a case that she wondered if I’d be interested in –*if* I was up for a challenge. What did that mean? I quickly replied asking a series of questions. She requested a phone call. Things would be easier to explain over the phone rather than typed text. I was clueless-what could she have meant? I didn’t know if I wanted a boy dog when I had so many cute “girl” puppy clothes. But, my heart started racing as I waited for her call and actually about jumped out of my chest when the phone actually rang!

She said she had a “unique” dog. He would need a lot of time and patience. He was insecure. He was fearful and not like other dogs. I thought to myself, “What? All dogs are playful. All pups are loving and full of fun.” I couldn’t fathom any of God’s creatures being frightened of everything. But, whoa! Could I do this? I’m not trained or anything. I love animals, but what if I can’t help him…..?

Rewind back to 2014…

When Buddy arrived, the volunteers kept him up front in the office. He was way too nervous to be around all the other dogs and their barking. He was provided all the amenities – food, water, a  bed, snuggles and love, but Buddy refused to eat, drink, go outside, or socialize with humans or other dogs. He would find a wall and hug it until he got to a corner; then he’d stay cowering there just wanting to be left alone…waiting to be unnoticed. People would try to hand feed him, hug him, pet him, etc., but he refused to thrive. 

Christina took Buddy home to foster and learn more about him to see what she could do to help. She spoke to the vet about medications, but they were not recommended. She talked to a trainer who gave her advice. She kept trying. She was able to get him to eat and drink, but petting and hugging were still out of the question. He loved her kids! He’d stay in their room to be close to them, but he’d still run if they’d try to pet him. He didn’t want to miss out on anything, but felt safer keeping a distance. Through many trials and error, Buddy started to improve – he started to trust and learned that he was in a safe environment.

The HCHS posted his pics on their Facebook wall and a family saw Buddy and decided to adopt him. But sadly, Buddy’s fear of change caused him to bolt. He ran away before they even realized it happened. He ran for weeks! He was even hit by a car while running. A couple rushed to help him; he was injured. They got him to a vet to treat him.  And several other families tried to help him and love him along the way. Through some sort of miracle, Buddy found his way back to the HCHS. Christina took him home again to figure out next steps.

Fast forward to February 2015….

When I inquired about Zoey–but instead got a glimpse into the life of Buddy–I was given details about his history; told that many didn’t think he was adoptable; was notified of his quirks and oddities; was provided full disclosure of his bad teeth; and informed of other nuances of this little 7 year old 8lb ball of white fur with one blue and one brown eye. Could I do this? Am I qualified? Heck I don’t know… but what would it hurt to go see him. Logan, Iowa is only about a 40 min drive. I took Calli along on the road trip to get her opinion. When we arrived, there was Buddy peeking out the window with another little white dog. He’s was so cute. I couldn’t wait to scoop him up and just hold him. But, I had to wait. He’s not about all that lovey-dovey stuff. So, I had to be patient. I let him smell my hand and attempted to pet him — he didn’t run! That was a good sign, right? Before I left, I just had to hold him. He let me do so briefly and my heart swelled. He was stiff, rigid and kind of locked up, but he tolerated it….I just knew I had to try. I could do research. I could figure out how to fix his fearful tendencies. I don’t give up easily. So, I said I’d take him.

A couple days later I went back to Logan to bring him home for good. I wanted to do something special for the shelter. Not just because they helped Buddy find me, but because they didn’t give up on him.  They believed in him and gave him a fighting chance. They saw how special he was. I found a site online that could superimpose a picture of Buddy onto a canvas with some other animals and the name of the Shelter. I wanted the HCHS volunteers to see Buddy’s face staring back at them any time they begin to question why they do what they do and if what they do really matters. It does. It matters more than they realize.

Some tell me how special I am for rescuing this special needs dog, but no, I am no hero. I took on a dog who gives me great joy every single day of my life. I’m the lucky one. He licks my hand now and even gives puppy kisses. He runs to me when I call his name (most of the time-ha!). When I say, “Mommy wants to hold you,” he doesn’t hide anymore – he waits for me to pick him up and lets me hold him. He has a pillow fort on the couch that he has made his bed even though there are 6 doggie beds around the house. He sometimes will fall asleep watching television with me now. My mom sends my pups birthday cards and valentines with $$$$ to buy treats. She loves her granddogs! Buddy has a fenced in backyard that allows him to run free – chasing bunnies, burying rawhides or running the fence with the German Shepherd next door. The last time he had a vet visit, he said it can’t be the same dog I first brought in. So many improvements made him barely recognizable.

He still has issues with walking on the leash too long. He still startles easily with quick movements. He still is nervous around new people. But he found his voice. He barks to let me know when the UPS guy is on his way up the driveway or when the neighborhood kids get off the bus on the corner or when one of his canine friends are outside waiting to run with him. He and Calli look out for each other. He knows how much he’s loved. And, most importantly, he knows he is “home.”

His joined our family in January 2015. We will be celebrating his 9th birthday and 2nd Gotcha Day in a few short weeks. ☺ My heart has doubled in size since the day Calli and I took him in.  I was given a gift that I can never repay. The true heroes are the women, men, girls and boys who volunteer at the shelter. Not only did they save Buddy, they do the same thing for countless stray, lost, abused, surrendered and unwanted dogs and cats each and every day. They care for these pets like they’re their children, and then they love them enough to let them go when they find a good match. They are the greatest champions, guardians and protectors of these bundles of fur that are pure treasures deserving of snuggles, cuddles, love and affection. The volunteers are the true heroes.  They deserve nonstop thanks and never-ending praise, but what they’d want above all else is to be put out of work – in a perfect world, shelters wouldn’t be needed.  Abused animals, rescues, seniors, and special needs animals wouldn’t be in kennels with sad eyes, fractured spirits and broken hearts… waiting….. and wondering what is next. But, the volunteers keep doing what they do until they ALL find a home.  

If you are unable to adopt or foster, please volunteer at or donate to your local shelter. They have wish lists on their websites as well as links to make monetary donations. If you don’t have the funds or time to help out, “like” your community’s shelter and share their pics when you can – you never know when you might be the bridge to help someone find the newest member of their family.     

Sherece Spence aka Buddy’s Mom