Henry’s Story By Patti Kampsen


Henry (aka Toto, Precious Pets Almost Home)

I had to put my almost 17 year old dog to sleep in August, 2007.  I had him cremated and, about 2 weeks later, my vet clinic called to say I could pick up his ashes whenever I was ready.  While I was at the clinic, getting his ashes, one of the staff people showed me the picture of a dog who appeared to be a terrier mix that she had seen on PetFinders.  I said that the dog was cute but, while I knew I would eventually get another dog, I just wasn’t ready to do so yet.  A couple of weeks later, I ran into Fran who I hadn’t seen in over a year.  While we were catching up, she told me that she had started her own dog training business and knew of several great rescue shelters and people who were fostering dogs so, when I was ready, she would help me get another dog.

At about the same time, a friend of Fran’s, who is a foster mom, sent her a picture of a dog that she was fostering and asked Fran if she knew of anyone who was looking for a dog.  Fran forwarded the picture of the dog to me.  It was the same dog whose picture I had seen when I was picking up my old dog’s ashes.  They were calling the fostered dog Toto but, in my mind, I actually renamed him and started calling him Henry.  I must have looked at that picture 20 times a day.  But, I didn’t feel the timing was right because I was going to be doing quite a bit of traveling over the next several months and I did not feel it was a good time to bring a new dog home so I told Fran that, while I appreciated her efforts, I would not be taking this dog.  About a week or two later, Fran called to ask me if I was sure I did not want this dog because some people were coming to look at him.  My stomach literally dropped and I instantly felt like they were coming to get “my Henry.”  But, again, I regained “my rational self” and told Fran that I couldn’t bring a new dog home.

Fran called me a couple of days later and told me that the people did not show up to see Henry (I sighed a sigh of relief) and Fran insisted that we go see the dog.  We set up a time and went off to meet “Henry.”  His foster mom brought him into the room were Fran and I were sitting.  He came into the room, looked around, locked eyes on me, and jumped into my lap.  I knew I was taking this dog.

I can’t begin to say how much Henry has changed my life.  We have done so much training together and work together and have become such a great team.  He has brought me joy, laughter, and love.  I have always had animals in my life but I have never had the same relationship with them as the relationship I have with Henry.  I love that scruffy, brown dog like I have never loved a dog before.  And, I know that he loves me, too.  When people talk about their rescued dogs, the question is often asked:   “Who rescued who?”  In my case, I can honestly say that I know that I may have rescued Henry but he saved me.  He is, without a doubt, my “soul dog.”