A Reflection on Huey and Jane: An Inspirational “Who Rescued Who” Story
Written By: Kristen Elser: Huey’s Trainer, Foster Mom, and Co-Adopter
At some point in our traveling lives, most of us can attest to pulling up beside a car embellished with a "Who Rescued Who" bumper sticker. Whenever I find myself sitting behind one of these popular adhesives, my mind becomes instantly provoked. At most, I cannot help but imagine the personal story that motivated the vehicle’s owner to openly publicize, just how impactful their animal-human relationship is.
Huey and Jane
As a proud member in the field of animal assisted interventions, and life-long animal rescuer, owner and trainer, I have been blessed to have allowance into the lives of countless others, both human and non-human animal. Therefore, I am constantly presented with popular rescue-related merchandise, and cannot help but wonder, why are most of our stories shortly put to a sticker or coffee mug? Or why is so much of what we hear relating to animal rescue, so sad? Instead of feeling compelled to share stories filled with sorrow and struggle, or summing up a life-changing partnership simply to a key-chain, I wish to illustrate a story of a different nature.
Upon sharing this story, I hope to encourage others to smile and nod to an insightful and inspirational tale behind one of these ‘Who Rescued Who’ memorabilia. The next time you find yourself in a traffic jam sitting behind one of these stickers, I hope two individuals come to mind, Huey and Jane ...
He was described as a giant bear-like dog, coming in at 110 pounds; a Newfound-Labrador mix they assumed. They gave him a name, Huey. Supposedly, Huey was found astray near a central Texas zoo. He had no tag, no micro-chip, and no loving owner to bail him from the humane, yet lethal hand of euthanasia.
To Huey’s great fortune, he found life-saving luck amongst a group of kind people in Northern Illinois, owners of a no-kill rescue. These individuals could not resist Huey’s gentle brown eyes, and disposition more kind than words can describe. The operators of Green Pup Shelter in Lake Zurich, Illinois made the formal decision that Huey the snow-loving bear dog, deserved life ... and snow; both of which could be provided for him up north. They arrived to save him [literally] just in time.
While Huey was making his long journey, I was composing a close relationship with a new client, and now dear friend, Jane Fortin. Jane fell victim to a horrific accident many years ago. Now primarily bound to a wheelchair with restricted mobility, her life as a mother of two, and wife forever changed.
Jane spent several years as a Social Worker learning about the non-traditional, yet immense healing powers behind the animal-human bond. After years of pondering how and where she could obtain a canine service partner, she contacted me. After listening to what Jane imagined to be her perfect canine partner, I became instantly inspired to locate her dream dog. Although our relationship was new, her level of sincerity and kindness reassured me that not only does she deserve the companionship of a specially trained partner, but she must be paired with an equally compassionate and gentle soul.
After a few unsuccessful months of attempting to discover Jane’s perfect partner, I stumbled across the most beautiful brown eyes. It was Huey. However there was one issue, I was sadly too late. Huey had already been set into the process of adoption with another family, and I was just one week too late. I was greatly discouraged, however felt strangely confident that my final interactions with Huey was long from over. I remained in-touch with the wonderful rescuers at Green Pup Shelter throughout the weeks past my initial inquiry.
Whether you believe in luck, or holy forms of non-human interference, I received a surprisingly perfect and unexpected email reading, “Huey’s family can no longer keep him due to medical reasons of a family member. Huey will be going back up for adoption immediately”. From that moment on, I knew it was meant to be, he was meant for Jane and Jane’s long awaited partner now had a name ... Huey Bear.
Jane’s generous level of trust for me, (which I am still grateful for) gave me the boost of confidence needed to immediately commit to adopting Huey. Jane was so confident and trusting of our new decision, she did not even need to meet him, she just knew ... as did I.
Huey was immediately brought home to reside with my family and me. After a few days it seemed as though he was a member of our family for years. He seamlessly joined our pack of five; myself, my husband, our 12 month old son Jax, and our two dogs Alice and Dewy. Yes you read correctly, our 5 year old Bulldog, and registered therapy dog is named Dewy; therefore, I now proudly owned a Huey and Dewy ... talk about meant to be! Moreover Alice, our 2 year old deaf Pit Bull, was comically nicknamed Louie. Now that I was the delighted pack leader of Huey, Dewy and Louie, we all quickly got to work to incorporate Huey into our family with welcoming arms ... and paws.
Huey was steadily measured for his extra-large custom mobility service harness. His level of patience and gratitude was unlike any I have ever witnessed. He knew right then what his life calling would be. It was as obvious to him and it was to me, he was destine to assist in the rescuing of another life. His confidence was steadfast for months, without ever meeting Jane, he knew that he would soon began a new and noble life of service.
Huey in all was successfully trained to assist Jane in bracing her to summit the stairs, descend the stairs, stabilize for basic mobility, accompany her in the facilities, and pull her wheelchair when her arms began to fatigue. With about 150 hours of training under his belt (and harness) I thought it would be time for the pair to meet. At the time of their first meeting, it was then that I began to believe with confidence that ‘love-at-first-sight’, was a phrase of truth for both human and animal alike.
I always believed that upon meeting one’s newest [canine] family member for the first time, one will just know…but this was different, this was beyond that. The connection was instant, it was beautiful. Huey was so in-tune with Jane and her family. He even recognized her children and husband as his newest inner-circle.
When it was time to leave and embark on their three hour ride home, I bent down to kiss my dear friend goodbye; not for good, but for a time longer than I would know. I wanted to wish him good luck, tell him how proud I was of him, and what a special life he was going on to lead. My desire to say all this was cut short to a simple, “I love you good boy”. This was because Huey was already completely focused, and standing proudly beside Jane. He had no time or interest in distractions outside of his and Jane’s new and very personal world. I got my single kiss good-bye, and off they went.
They loaded into the car, and straight away Huey was there to assist. It was like magic. His focus on Jane was so intense. With steadfast attention he closely watched to see what seat she was headed for. He quickly repositioned himself in the car to move precisely for where she was headed. Huey beat her to her seat, and proudly straighten himself out therefore allowing her to properly position herself seamlessly into her seat. The afternoon was difficult to describe; yet I continue to use the term, ‘instant connection’ for lack of better words.
I was constantly checking in with the pair throughout the first few days of their ‘trial week’. Things continued down their unbroken path, and I grew more and more proud of Huey each day. I grew equally proud of, and excited for Jane; knowing that the best was yet to come. I knew in my heart that the pair was destine for greatness, yet I did not know just how monumental and influential the duo would be on each other’s lives until I got the most remarkable message from Jane.
With only two short days of partnership under their belts, Jane called me. She said, "I have to tell you … I am sitting on the floor and Huey’s head is in my lap, and my right arms is so relaxed and steady. I am never able to do that; this dog is MAGICAL. He has magical healing powers!" Her call and those words, gave me one of the proudest moments of my life. It was then that I knew for certain this pairing was life-long.
After just one week together Huey was assisting Jane with ten minutes a day of walking. This was over twice as long as she had been able to accomplish in years. Her stability and strength was growing stronger by the day. Additionally, Huey gave Jane the motivation, confidence and desire to return to work. The pair began applying and interviewing for jobs, after only two weeks together. The duo has proudly joined forces, and ready to re-enter the field of Social Work. These series of event allowed me to realize that Huey’s training was complete, and it was now officially my time to bow-out.
I will always have a life-long bond with Jane and Huey. I pray that there is never a time in my life when I cannot honestly say that I do not know what the duo is up to. I know that Huey’s presence in my home will continue beyond the long dark hairs that still linger on my floors. I will always remember the 95 degree summer day that I drove him home, nor will I ever forget the cold November day that he set off on his selfless journey. Even though I have been blessed to experience so many wonderful canine relationships, I will always remember my gentle giant. The ultimate "Who Rescued Who" tale will never leave my memory, and a piece of my heart will forever lay cuddling with my kind and dear, Huey Bear.
Last July, I found my forever home. It was a bit of a rough beginning, but oh, what a happy ending!
At first I was very upset any time I was left alone; I pooped in the house, I ate the blinds. I did not make my new parents very happy, but I just wanted to be with them all the time. Gradually, I became more secure and realized that every time they left, they came back home for me, so I stopped being so destructive.
I also wanted to lie on all the furniture, but my parents didn’t want that, and we finally reached a compromise where I have one designated sofa to sleep on. Sometimes, when no one’s home though, I’ll sleep on a different one, but I’m careful to get off before they come in. Shhh…don’t tell.
Then this summer, the most amazing thing happened. My Dad opened up a day care center just for dogs! It’s called Central Bark Doggy Day Care and it’s located in Gurnee, IL. It’s a big place with indoor and outdoor play areas with pools and toys and lots of other dogs to play with. The best part, though, is that I get to go to work with my dad every day! I’m the official greeter and help to make all the new dogs welcome. If I don’t feel like playing, I can curl up on the couch in my Dad’s office and take a break.
I am the luckiest dog ever! Thank you Green Pup Shelter for saving me and helping me find the perfect forever family for me!
We need volunteers for the following upcoming events:
Pet Adoption Days at Petsmart in Gurnee on
Second Saturday of Each Month
Volunteers are needed on the second Saturday of every month at our Green Pup Shelter Pet Adoption Days at Petsmart in Gurnee. Volunteer now!
Pet Adoption Awareness Days at Wal-Mart in Lake Zurich and Antioch
We periodically go to WalMart in Lake Zurich and Antioch for Pet Adoption Awareness Days. We will need volunteers to help us. We will bring an adoptable dog with us, and collect donations for our rescue.
Needed: Grant Writer
If anyone knows a grant writer, we are in desperate need of some financial grants to continue to save dogs lives. The dogs thank you!
We are always in need, and grateful for your generous financial contributions.
We are a no-kill shelter, and not for profit. We are run strictly by volunteers. 100% of your donations go directly to our pups.
Donations are needed for these services:
Boarding Fosterless Pups:
$341.00 per dog/per month
$45.00 per dog/per month
To donate, click the Donate button or mail donations to:
Green Pup Shelter
P.O. Box 728
Lake Zurich, Illinois 60047
GW Travel Supports Green Pup Shelter!
GW Travel donated a fabulous trip for our Enchanted Tails fundraiser that was held on May 19: a trip to the Grand Mayan Los Cabos Beach Resort in Mexico! We thank them for their generous donation!
And remember, when Green Pup Shelter supporters book a vacation through GW Travel, Green Pup gets a percentage of the commission! So book a trip today!
We are in desperate need of foster homes! Click here learn more about becoming a foster parent.
Our Mission: The Life of a Stray
"Within the heart of every stray,
lies the singular desire to be loved"
This simple fact is what has inspired the founders of Green Pup Shelter to expand their energy and resources to save and better the lives of unwanted and abandoned dogs. Each founder brings years of experience working in shelters and foster homes dedicated to rescuing and adopting out dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.
Saving one dog may not make a difference to the world, but it makes a difference to that one dog.
At Green Pup Shelter, every dog is special. Most come to us from kill shelters, often traumatized, always lonely and fearful. We provide the love, care and security many have once known but may have forgotten.
Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole.
Taking in unwanted dogs, making them healthy and well, finding them a loving home and knowing that we have made their lives better is our reward. For the adopter, the reward is a loving, loyal and faithful companion. For the dog, the reward is obvious, life.
Green Pup Shelter is a no-kill shelter. Our goal is to recycle unwanted dogs.