Dorane + Kahlua

Newly Adopted Dog Goes from Kennel to Show Ring

Dorane + Kahlua

After my two elderly cats died, I adopted two shelter cats and was thoroughly enjoying them. Some recent health diagnoses, however, made me think if I ever wanted to have a dog, it’s now or never. I may not be able to have a dog in the future.

My local Petco recommended DMK Rehoming, a rescue group that holds adoption events at their store. I called and made an appointment to meet them at their kennel.

"I visited the library and read several German Shepherd books that all said they are working dogs that need jobs."

Never, in my 50 plus years, have I ever heard so many dogs barking at once. I told the gentleman that I am a cat person who was looking for a medium-sized dog to hike with and who would get along with cats as well kids and strangers since I have a home-based business.

He walked away and returned with Kahlua, a four-year-old German Shepherd. I quickly reiterated that I’m a cat person without dog experience. I muttered something about not being ready and left without the dog.

But I couldn’t get Kahlua out of my mind. I visited the library and read several German Shepherd books that all said they are working dogs that need jobs. I went back to the rescue, adopted her and followed their instructions on how to introduce her to my cats.

A friend suggested we try doggie dancing as her job. I had never heard of such a thing, but she sent me YouTube videos, which showed waggy-tailed dogs dancing with happy humans. This activity seemed perfect and would also provide me much-needed exercise.

We started in obedience, not for Kahlua, but for me. We earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen and Advanced Canine Good Citizen titles. We began dancing together and earned her beginner’s dance title. I hadn’t set goals like this for decades, but it’s been fun working toward goals and achieving them. I felt a sense of pride that I hadn’t felt in years.

With the obedience and dancing, Kahlua and I have formed a tremendous bond, both together and with others. We met so many wonderful people during our obedience classes, dog-dance team competitions, neighborhood walks and volunteer time at DMK.

Adopting Kahlua expanded my life immeasurably as well as my sense of self.

I tear up thinking that this outstanding dog was on death row at a high-kill shelter before being rescued by DMK Rehoming who housed her in their kennels for four months. Nobody wanted to adopt her because of the “expression on her face,” they told me.

The dog no one wanted is now a performance dog. When people ask me if I would sell her, I say, “No, absolutely not. Not at any price.”

Each year, the Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Dorane Subjack won DMK Rehoming in Aurora, Colorado a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.