Our featured pet, "Earl," has spent time in prison, but he's no recidivist! In fact, he's beautifully behaved as a result of his prison time, and he's the pride of his owner, Sarah Lewis Yow, Digital Photographer, Imaging Department, Replacements, Ltd.
Both Sarah and her husband, Mike, are animal lovers, but at the time of their marriage, neither of them had pets. Mike had lost his beloved yellow Lab, "L.B.," his companion for 13 years, and had not gotten another dog, and wasn't really looking. Sarah had always been surrounded by pets and missed having any of her own.
After Sarah and both of Mike's children worked on him for a couple of years to get a dog, he finally decided to go along. Mike gave Sarah a list of conditions that the dog would have to meet. The dog, he said, had to be short-haired and housebroken. While he wanted a dog that didn't weigh more than 50 pounds, he wasn't interested in a tiny dog, either.
With Mike's very specific criteria in mind, Sarah set about the task of finding the "right" dog for her family. She discovered a pet-finder web site that showed the pets available at local shelters and rescue groups. It was important to everyone in the Yow family that their new pet be adopted from a rescue group, since there are always so many "pound puppies" that never find homes.
Sarah looked at a number of very deserving animals, but she found herself going back time after time to check out a dog named Earl. He had shown up on the local SPCA web page and his story stood out.
Earl was short-haired and weighed 48 pounds. Not only was he housebroken, he was also a graduate of the "Leash-on-Life" program, where inmates at a local prison train dogs to obey basic commands. Earl was perfect for the Yows! They loved his Southern name and the fact that he had been to prison!
When Sarah and the children went to meet Earl while he was housed at a local kennel, they knew they had found their dog. Earl was somewhat reserved, but he won them over. Now Earl had to pass the big test. How was Mike going to respond?
The kind folks at the SPCA delivered Earl to the Yow house a week later for a two-week "trial" period. Very quickly Earl's personality began to emerge. He was no longer the timid dog from the shelter; he was loving and playful. The training Earl had received prepared him to be a wonderful pet. He will sit, stay, shake, lie down, and roll over on command. With his big heart, he won over all the Yows, including Mike, in a hurry. After the trial period was over, Sarah called the SPCA to let them know that they couldn't have Earl back! He had found his "forever" home.
When asked what kind of dog Earl is, Sarah will simply answer, "Black and white." He appears to be a Border collie mix and has some of the characteristics often attached to the breed. The entire family enjoys watching Earl run obstacle course-style laps around the yard. He runs so fast that cars sometimes stop nearby to watch him go!
"Being employed at Replacements was actually a bonus when it came to adopting a dog," Sarah said. "The volunteers at the SPCA were already familiar with our pet-friendly workplace, since other Replacements employees had adopted from the group." Sarah loves being able to bring Earl to work, where he gets lots of love and attention. Sarah sometimes also brings in her mother's rescued Corgi, "Tristan," when she's dog-sitting.
"The pet-friendly policy is just one of the many benefits of working at Replacements," Sarah said. "The company's continued dedication to the welfare of its employees, even in these tough economic times, is truly remarkable. And for that I'm extremely grateful!"