Ranger is an Australian Cattle Dog, or possibly an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, born sometime in 2004. I pulled him from a municipal kill shelter in 2006 because I just couldn't get him out of my head. I had been seeing signs and ads for him all over the place, the work of the shelter staff who also could not stand to see him euthanized. 
blue heeler
Photo by Erin Koski

Several months prior, he had come into the shelter as a stray. He was so pretty and sweet that a local no-kill shelter pulled him and brought him to their facility where they spent several weeks trying to find a home for him.

Apparently the "no kill" shelter world has a dark underbelly, because when they decided he wasn't going to find a home they just transferred him back to the kill shelter. At least, that's what the animal control officers at the kill shelter told me.

Ranger spent several more weeks at the municipal shelter, and eventually went on the list of dogs to be euthanized to make room for more incoming strays. Those wonderful workers at the kill shelter did absolutely everything they could to keep him alive. Each week when it came time to gather all the dogs on the list, Ranger went missing. Sometimes he was in the cat room. Sometimes he was in quarantine. Sometimes he was in a run that had been unoccupied when the person came for the dogs.

They managed this for several weeks, all while putting up signs and ads everywhere, desperately looking for someone to adopt him. I couldn't stand it. My then-boyfriend helped me pull Ranger from the shelter. We were both living with our parents, and nobody wanted an extra dog, so we shuffled him back and forth between our houses for a few days.

At the time, Brisbane's veterinarian was right next to an embroidery shop where my sister worked. Briz was on a diet, and each week I'd weigh him on the scale in the vet's waiting room, and then stop by the shop to visit my sister. When I brought Ranger along, the shop owners were delighted to see him. They had been looking to adopt a dog and remembered seeing him at the shelter. They asked to borrow him for a little while to get to know him, and called a few hours later to say he was staying.

Ranger is a bit nervous, spooky, and uncertain in the face of novel experiences. He is wildly athletic and can jump an 8' fence. Not as big a chowhound as the rest of the crew, he is my star tester for high-value treats and irresistible chews. His family lets me borrow him and his sister Annie regularly for adventures.

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