One evening early last June (2001), I was making my way through the 30 or so web sites of animal shelters in the greater LA area. I had looked at probably over 100 photos when I found what I was looking for . . . and hoping I wouldn't. Smiling into the camera was #A393489 a "terrier male, 5 months old" that could well be a Kerry. It turned out to be the face that launched a thousand adoption applications!
The next morning Ron Hewlett went to the North Central Animal Shelter and identified him as a Kerry mix, possibly a Kerry. Arrangements were made for his neutering and adoption, and Pat Goglia picked him up, had him evaluated by Dr. Dana Bliefer, D.V.M., and provided foster care.
At 23 lbs. and barely 18 inches tall, Hopkins was small for a male Kerry. His long coat was soft and silky with a loose wave, and he had dew claws and an undocked tail. We hedged our bets and referred to him as a Kerry mix. Yet his personality was all Kerry--affectionate, playful, happy as a lark, and smart. Ho boy, was he smart. By Pat's own admission, Hopkins was smarter than any of his 3 Kerries and then some. He promptly figured out how to squeeze through a locked gate, how to steal shoes and socks, and how to disappear at bedtime when the dreaded crate door opened. He also knew how to "hop" away when the doggie games got too hot--games he himself instigated. In short, Hopkins was a loveable scamp.
As he blossomed under Pat's care, I undertook the job of finding Hopkins a home. The adoption questionnaires began pouring in. I was flooded with phone calls and email requests for more information. And nearly everyone commented on his photo posted on the Kerry web site. This little boy's smile was endearing himself to people from coast to coast. Yet none of the homes was the best it could be, and the search continued.
In the meantime, Pat was getting increasingly attached to the little fellow, so I fostered for several weeks. During that time, a surprising thing happened. The more I groomed on Hopkins, the more convinced I became that he was, in fact, a purebred Kerry. I consulted with a number of Kerry people, and they concurred. Hopkins was maturing into a full-blooded Kerry! Meanwhile, a family for him remained elusive. It wasn't until the end of August, after he'd logged 4 flights in a private plane and I'd collected 150 emails in my Hopkins folder, did the perfect home appear. Jack & Vicki Strelioff and their 13-year-old daughter Jessica were looking for a family do--one to accompany Jack on his early morning hikes, one for Vicki to dote on, and one for Jessica to play with, train, groom, share with friends, and fall in love with. That was Hopkins. And although I screened homes from LA to Monterey to San Rafael, his ideal home was just a 5-minute walk from Pat's house!
Today, Hopkins is 10 months old, has gained over 10 lbs., and stands about 19 inches tall. He is enrolled in his first basic obedience class (and behaving himself), tears around the local dog park (his "Disneyland"), and is beloved by not only his family, but their friends and neighbors, and the people Jack meets through his home business. This dog has quite an extended family!
I'd like to thank Ron Hewlett for his time and willingness to help Rescue, and for his sharp eye in recognizing a Kerry in "sheepdog's clothing," and to Pat Goglia, whose house and heart are always big enough for just one more. I'd also like to thank Hopkins' namesake, Hoppy (and Janet!) Hopkins of Green Valley, AZ, whose generous donations to our Rescue Fund make rescues like this possible. And of course, I want to thank the Strelioffs for providing such a loving home for this little boy, and for keeping him smiling.
March 2004 Update
Hopkins is the Kerry featured in the top left corner of the Rescue section of the web site.
September 10, 2014
Here's a 13th anniversary photo of Hopkins from this morning.
Hopkins is happy, healthy, stubborn, playful, loving and always loving.
What a wonderful friend...!!! Our family loves him dearly.
Strelioff family, Jessica, Vickie & Jack