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Room At The Inn – The Tale Of Anya

Anya is an older dog who had a hard time finding an adopted home.

Written by volunteer Charlene Proto

There is always room at the Inn. “The Inn” as Jim & Donna playfully refer to their home which has been “home” to many rescued pets over the years. This generous couple not only adopts rescues, they adopt the un-adoptable: the abused, mistreated and the elderly – “the damaged goods” as Donna calls them.

But the damaged soon become the loveable, playful and wonderful additions to the family that any well-treated, respected animal can become. Jim has a special knack for working with the newcomers and strongly advocates having patience and giving the animal time to adjust. Their lives have been in constant upheaval and they may bring the additional baggage of abuse. He recommends just taking the time to “work” with the animal, giving them the gift of a safe and secure home. Amazingly in return you find they can express gratitude and the wonderful result of that working relationship is “you fall in love.”

Since Donna and Jim do adopt older dogs, they are fully aware of dealing with loss. Lacy, a Lab mix was rescued from a life of abuse and spent her last few years as a happy member of the family. Donna described her as a “cool and loving” dog. However her days were numbered at twelve years and her absence left a gaping hole in the home.

Donna began her search on line with Pet-Finder and all the local shelter sites. After spotting a dog she thought might be right, she made calls and tracked her down to the HCWS adoption center at PetSmart. All the HCWS volunteers were very helpful and facilitated the adoption nicely. The couple brought Blu their resident 10 year old Lab to meet Anya a sweet petite Heeler mix who HCWS had rescued from a Kill Shelter. The two dogs agreed and so did Donna and Jim; a new resident had been found for “The Inn”.

Anya and Blu are best buddies.

Donna and Jim have high praise for the HCWS “Pups on Parole” program which trained Anya to be house pet. All of the HCWS dogs are trained in the program at the women’s prison. The prisoners take training and apply to enter the program where they care for a dog rescued by HCWS.

The woman who worked with Anya obviously loved her and put an extra amount of work into training this little “throw-away.” Each pet released from the program comes with notes from the trainer, but Anya came with a book, complete with imaginative, creative notes and illustrations. The couple felt sorry to take Anya away from her trainer, but realize that another needy animal was waiting in the wings to be trained and loved so she too could find a forever home. They profusely expressed their gratitude to the young woman who gave so much of herself to a little dog who so much needed it. The little misfit who learned so well to fit in!

Donna and Jim are ardent advocates of adopting older dogs. Everybody wants a fuzzy little puppy that smells fresh and new, but take a look at the older dogs. They too can become integral parts of the family circle.

Most of the adoptees that Donna and Jim have welcomed into their home over the years have been older dogs with abusive histories. And each one without exception has become a “great family pet.” What a heartwarming gesture to take an animal with an unhappy, perhaps miserable existence and make their last years on earth joyful ones!

“When the Inn is vacant, we will return to save another life, and in doing so, enrich our own.”

-Jim & Donna

You can find your own furry companion each weekend at the HCWS Adoption Center inside PetSmart off I-215 and S. Rainbow.  Cat adoptions are held Thursday through Sunday and dogs are adopted each Saturday.  Or log onto our website at to get a sneak peek of all our great animals. www.hcws.org


2 Responses

  1. Fantastic story. I, too, am an advocate for the older dogs. I adopted an 8 y/o Yellow Lab. I know that’s not ancient but it’s still senior status for a big dog. He’s now 14 and is the love of my love! Kudos to Jim & Donna.

  2. This is a wonderful, heart warming story. It is sad how and why people abuse a helpless animal!! God bless these good people that took these two dogs into their home..

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