Wags and Wiggles

This page is devoted to stories of New Spirit adoptees and their human families, and we welcome updates to be featured here.  

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Referral Dogs

Kailey had only planned on fostering Hazel but once they met she knew she had found her forever home.

I started following NS4AR on Facebook after my roommates Aussie I grew extremely close to suddenly passed. I didn't feel I was ready to commit to adopting but felt fostering could heal both me and a dog in need. I waited months for a foster opportunity. I had just returned home from vacation in New York and that very day New Spirit reached out about a 2 1/2 year old Aussie from Miami who was in need of a home. I instantly accepted. A lovely volunteer drove all the way to Miami to get Hazel out of her current situation, and drove her all the way to Orlando to bring her to me. I didn't know what to expect fostering considering she was my first ever. She immediately made herself at home. I swore the first night she would sleep in the kennel just in case she wasn't house trained, but she fell asleep snuggled in bed with me anyways. 

A few months later I was on my way to class and I received the dreaded call - Hazel found a home. I sobbed in the parking lot and was late for class. The time came for her to meet the potential family and I cried the whole drive there, and embarrassingly got caught crying in my car at their house. The home decided Hazel wouldn't be a good fit and I got in the car, looked at her in my backseat and decided there was no way I could ever get that close to losing her again. This was my chance to keep her. I called New Spirit and told them my decision. 

Hazel is now almost 4 and we have moved all the way to Buffalo, New York. She's my best friend and the happiest girl ever. She loves stuffed animals, hikes, naps and swimming in the creek. I'm so beyond grateful for my foster failure and to New Spirit for bringing her into my life. 

Kailey Hayes
Read about how Stefanie and Ranger became the best running buddies ever!

I always love to brag about my NS4AR boy, Ranger! He is my 3rd Aussie. My first dog was a Samoyed that lived to 14. I didn't know anything about the Aussie breed but my second dog, Lacey, was a blue merle and amazing frisbee player!  She lived to 16 yrs old!  When Lacey was 8, I decided to rescue another Aussie because I love the energy and loyalty of the Aussie breed. I rescued Rocky, a 4 year old black tri from ARPH. He was as goofy and sweet as they come! Everybody loved Rocky!

When Rocky was 13, I decided it was time to rescue another. I googled Aussie Rescue and found NS4AR. I saw that Kim Litz was now with NS4AR (she was my Rep from ARPH). She worked with me to find my next Aussie. I was looking for a dog 1 yr to 3 yrs that would be a great running buddy as I am a big runner. We found a blue merle, but she had a soft tissue injury so that would not work. Kim emailed me would I be interested in a black tri that's 2 yrs old that was an owner surrender? I said "YES,YES,YES!" Jeanette Heideman in Apopka was fostering him. Jeanette texted me and sent me pics of Ranger for 2 weeks up until Rocky and I took the 2 hr trip to pick him up! He was as cute as can be! 

I have had Ranger for almost 7 months now. I did find out he had just turned 1 when I got him, not 2, which was even better! He was scared of EVERYTHING so he looked up to Rocky as his big brother! I ran with him the next day that I picked him up and he did awesome! I could not ask for a better running buddy! We run 5 times a week. To give momma a break, the other 2 days he goes to daycare where they call him the escape artist because he runs inside to his crate area when he has had enough! At first they did not know that and couldn't find him, and there he was just sitting waiting to get into his area! He does have some anxiety issues that we are working on. One is thunder and after the first storm a couple of weeks ago and I found the poor little guy in the shower. It has been a long time since I had a "puppy" and it is a big adjustment! I am trying to get him to play with toys. I didn't even know some dogs don't play with toys! He is as Velcro as they come and I love it! He used to body slam me at night, lol, but I broke him of that. Now he just jumps gently on me and snuggles and snuggles! 

Sadly, Rocky passed away from bloat 9 weeks ago at 14.5 yrs old. I still cry every day. I can tell Ranger misses him but he is doing good. He got more Velcro if that's possible!  

Thank you for letting me share my story about Ranger. I really lucked out with him as I did when I rescued Rocky, working with Kim.

Stefanie and Ranger
Mark and Lisa are working with newly adopted Koal every day to help him build his confidence!

We lost both our Aussies in 2019; the last in September. As everyone who loves dogs understands, it is one of the hardest things to do, saying good bye to a beloved part of the family. The house was so quiet and not having someone there to greet you at the door is tough. Additionally, we have had dogs for 28 of the 33 years we have been married. We contemplated getting a new puppy, but knew what we had in store. Therefore, we looked to adopt and settled on Koal. The first visit Koal barked at us for 20 straight minutes and would go to Lisa, but not Mark. During our 2-hour drive home we decided that we would take him. 

We went and picked him up on a Sunday and drove him to our home. For the first 2 weeks, he wouldn't come in the house when called. He would barely come to Mark, which was very frustrating. He grew to love our girls, even though they did not live with us. He could not catch a ball, nor understand the concept of bringing the ball back. He did not sit really well even for treats, and walks were more of a dog sled pull, then a walk.

After almost four months, he loves to play ball and Frisbee and is bringing them back. He looks forward to walks each day and is more responsive now on a leash. He has learned several tricks and sit, lay down, come, no, are all commands he understands. He does love all other dogs. His best friends now are his cousins Stark and Oakley. He even has gone on sleep overs at our daughter's and does great.

He greets us at the door, when he is not with us. We try and take him places to develop his social skills even more. He loves Lisa and when her alarm goes off in the morning, he is up on the bed on top of her waiting for morning loving. He loves to eat, but is good about not begging during meals. If you sit in the family room and try to eat a snack, he will be all over you.

He has learned how to stay around outside the fence and does not venture off the property. He does still have some socialization problems. He is very shy and cautious around new people. Therefore, we tell people just to leave him alone and he will eventually make his way over to you. He also has a fear plastic bags, paper towel tubes, and sometimes the dark when he goes outside at night.

Koal has been a great addition to the family and it's a blast exposing him to new things. Like our Vet said during the first visit, she told Koal he doesn't know how lucky he is. He hit family lottery when we adopted him and we are so lucky to have him in our family!

Mark and Lisa
Read about how the Hykin family adopted their first NS dog, Rocky (formerly Scooby Doo NS3133)

My husband and I live in NC with our three young boys. In early 2018, our beloved dog died at age 16. By the fall, my middle son was asking for a dog for his birthday, then for Christmas. On Christmas morning, he unwrapped a new dog door with a tag that said it's time for our family to find our dog. We started looking online as soon as presents were unwrapped. By the end of the week, we had seen the picture of Scooby Doo and fallen in love. We submitted an application to New Spirit for Aussie Rescue, spoke to someone by phone, then spoke to the foster mom who was able to answer our questions and give us a better sense of the dog's personality. It sounded like a great fit and we were so excited. Unfortunately, our basement had just flooded and our house was a construction zone and barely fit for us, much less a new dog. The foster mom held Scooby for us for several weeks until we were able to make the house livable and meet him.  

That was nearly five months ago. While we all wanted a magical Disney moment at the meeting when the dog would see us and run to us knowing that we were his family, that's not the way it works in real life. Everyone was a little nervous. We took Scooby home and had a dog trainer come in to help us all communicate with him. The boys started to learn how to play with a young, energetic dog. We walked him and cuddled with him. We renamed him Rocky and worked with him more until he answers to the new name. It's taken time, but it's been good for the boys to learn that the love and trust they associate with a pet works both ways and takes time and effort.  

We are so thankful that the NS4AR foster really knew the dog's personality and knew we would be a good fit and was willing to wait for us to be ready to get him. Rocky is a wonderful part of our family and we couldn't be happier with our new pup.

Read about the Balas family, and their adoption of Candie and Murphy, two lucky pups!

My wife and I first became aware of NS4AR back in 2013 after moving to Atlanta. I've been a dog person my entire life and had been toying with the idea of adopting/rescuing for a while. My wife and I conducted the "normal" search online and ran across several great organizations but never really found the right fit. I had always maintained the idea that I wanted to adopt a younger dog so that we could train and maximize the amount of time we had with our future furry friend. One afternoon while at work I received a text message from my wife telling me to check my email..."I found the perfect one". I found the email she sent, clicked on the hyperlink and up popped "Candie", a 7 year old Blue Merle Aussie and German Shepard mix being fostered by John with NS4AR. The first thing I thought was "oh man...this dog is too old for us". After some convincing, my wife finally got me in the car to head out in the suburbs for a visit with Candie. Within 5 minutes of meeting Candie we knew we wanted to adopt her. We filled out an application on the spot, John schedule our home visit, and long story short....Candie came to her forever home a few weeks later. Candie is a "once in a lifetime" dogs. She becomes instant friends with anyone she meets, goes with us to senior living facilities to spend time with the residents, comes to work with me to visit her colleagues, always up for adventure and car rides. Everywhere my wife and I go, Candie is always there with us to tag along. Unfortunately, this past March 2019, Candie passed away just before her 14th birthday. Candie was part of the family for almost 7 years and it just wasn't enough time. You'd be amazed at the number of people in our neighborhood that still talk about Candie and how much they miss her.  

Before Candie passed away, we also adopted Murphy in August of '19. We had been talking about getting Candie a playmate for a while and the first place we looked was NS4AR. At the time, Murphy was being fostered by Martha MacDonald out of South Carolina. We had reached out to Martha to setup a time to meet Murphy and about a week or so later, met at a lake located about half way between each person's residence. Candie and Murphy got along great. Just like our first meeting with Candie, we filled out the application on the spot and Murphy came to his forever home a few weeks later. We've had Murphy almost a year now and the laughs just keep coming. He's very much like Candie....Always makes tons of friends, always wants to go for rides, and in general always has a great time wherever he's at. We love having Murphy around and he quickly became a integral part of our family. 

NS4AR is a fantastic organization and I can't say enough nice things about you folks. I'm sure the next time we look to bring home a furry friend the only place we'll be looking is NS4AR. I've attached a few photos of Candie and Murphy. 

Colin & Darla
A Wonderful Adoption Experience

​My name is Jim Morgan and my wife Marion and I adopted Marisol and Sadie (formally called Swosh) in 2008- your first year of existence as a rescue group. On the happy endings page for 2008 you mention the fact that we were the first people to adopt two dogs from your organization. 

We had 14 tremendous years with the girls as they traveled with us often to both NC and Florida. They had numerous walks on the beach and enjoyed romping in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. 

I am most proud of the fact that both girls were very well professionally trained and as a result worked together as therapy dogs representing The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Inc. in New Jersey for a period of ten years. 
Both girls were very in good health until the last month and it was appropriate that their lives ended together in February 2023. This Aussie experience was the best thing that ever happened to Marion and I. We are extremely grateful for every thing that you are doing as a Aussie organization.  ~ Jim and Marion Morgan
And a note from the Morgan's neighbor's kids: The Morgans are special people and if I could express how special Marisol and Sadie were to them, words would not do it justice. I wish you could see how Marion would glow and show the biggest smile when the subject of her two fur babies came up! Jim loved them equally but Marion just lit up when talking about them. These dogs brought more joy to them than can be imagined. I had the pleasure of pet sitting for them while visiting my mom in 2021. They were feisty but gentle nonetheless. I can only imagine the love and joy they provided to those who they did therapy for, and I think that is their legacy: bringing joy to many, and isn't that what matters most in life? ~ Wendy and Mark Taylor
The Wonderful Life of Taz

​ I am writing to tell you the sad news that we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Taz. We picked up Taz in the Hyde Park area of NY in April of 2010. He had gotten around quite a bit before we adopted him, starting in NC, PA, moved to NY and finally living with us in MD. His NS4AR name was Mauka (a name I always wondered about).

And his foster family called him Taz. We stuck with that name but I liked to say it was short for Razmataz and nothing to do with a Tasmanian devil. We started with Taz as we intended to continue, by stopping at the FDR museum and presidential library (where he was allowed in all the buildings except the library) on our way home from the foster home. We also went for a short hike at a nearby nature center. We took Taz on many adventures through our years. Camping, hiking, geocaching, day trips, eating out and of course our family vacations to the Outer Banks. Really anywhere dogs were allowed. He was with us in TN for the eclipse. He was with us on adventures in NY, NJ, PA, DE, VA, WV,NC,GA and of course MD. On the occasions where we couldn't take him, we left him at Camp Grandmama where he was spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa.

  Taz was a runner and managed to get out of the rental house at the OBX or Grandma's place once every time we went on vacation except the last. He would run until he got thirsty and then find someone who would call the number on the tag and one of his humans would come pick him up. He never showed any shame about it and I think he just figured that was the way it was supposed to go. He also ate things he wasn't supposed to almost always when he was angry that we hadn't taken him with us somewhere. It was usually something that had been there for weeks and he'd left alone. How he never had to have abdominal surgery or got hit by a car was a miracle of his existence. Other than these two things, he was a very good dog. He was a favorite of the neighborhood children up to the day he passed.
After we had had Taz for about three years, we signed him up as a Therapy dog and he made every other week visits to the local assisted living/rehab facility. The two words that became his hallmark were SOFT and SWEET. Two of our favorite stories are the time we were visiting the facility and one time when we were camping. One day at the facility the residents were in a circle of wheelchairs doing some activity. I walked Taz through the room visiting those who were interested. One lady was very clear that she was afraid of dogs and did not want to pet him. I respected her wishes but the lady next to her wanted to see him. Suddenly I hear from the fearful lady, "Oh, he's SOFT". Another time we were camping in WV and sitting around on the porch of the headquarters. A family came up to the porch and the parents went into the building. Two boys about eight years and eighteen months were on the porch. The eight year old wanted to pet Taz but the toddler was nervous. His brother and we were encouraging him to touch him. Taz took a small slow step toward him and sort of turned and leaned toward him in this slow gentle manner as if to say, " I'm really nice and soft and would never hurt you." Fear of dog overcome, smiles all around. We could tell a thousand stories.

Taz loved us all but Dad was his favorite. He was protective of our boy especially(and children in general) and we were not allowed to scold or roughhouse. He loved eggs and hotdogs were his kryptonite. 

He loved chasing tennis balls. I once threw the ball 100 times in a row. He would have kept going but I couldn't. He was not a retriever though. He was a shepherd and would make little piles of the balls instead of bringing them back.  He loved being patted in any way and by anyone. He was stubborn and smart, learning new 'tricks' well into his old age. He loved looooong walks and acted as our health and wellness officer during the pandemic and insisted that the whole family get their shoes on and go for two and a half mile walks every day. He loved doing math with our daughter and would sit with her while she did her homework and "check" it when she was done. He loved Halloween and Christmas and family celebrations at Grandmas.

Taz was diagnosed with an adrenal tumor just before Thanksgiving of 2021 and his health declined and rebounded in a rollercoaster fashion. There were a lot of baths and he had to be carried up and down all the stairs at the end. The walks got shorter and shorter but he still wanted to go up to a week before he passed. We were blessed to have him for 15 months after the diagnosis. We were blessed to have him for just under 13 years.

So thank you for our beloved dog. Soft, sweet, loving, handsome, pat- addicted, stubborn, trash-eating, escape artist that he was, he will be missed.

  The Rapps
Remembering Miss Cookie

We added Miss Cookie, formerly Snappy, to our family in May 2016. Our first Aussie was suffering from CHF and we wanted an older dog to keep her company. While they weren't inseparable, being independent women, they did get along and I have many photos of them lying together. 

Cookie lived up to her many nickname variations. Sweet Sugar Cookie with any person she met. She would wiggle like nobody's business! And watch out because she loved to bull her way between legs so she could look up at you with her goofy Aussie grin.

Then there was Cookie Monster. She couldn't abide other dogs in our neighborhood. Mostly female dogs. She did a complete 360 flip mid-air one time. And talk about barking! If I didn't see the neighboring dog was out and I let her out, they would run the fence sounding like they were going to tear into each other. One time a portion of the fence was down. Cookie jumped it and acted like our neighbor's Blizzard was her best friend! Weird. But she tolerated the addition of another NS4AR dog, Bear in 2017 just fine.

Cookie was estimated at four or five when she came home with us. So in the summer of 2022 at around eleven years of age, I wasn't too concerned when she started slowing down. I mentioned it to our wonderful vet and she suggested keeping an eye on her. On September 27 she collapsed like a starfish upstairs. She made it downstairs for breakfast and collapsed again. I called our vet and left a message letting Dr Bonnie know we were going to the hospital. While there, they took an X-ray. It showed her lungs and abdomen were full of cancer. I was in shock. Her prognosis was horrible. I took my little girl home and our sweet vet sent her over the Rainbow Bridge while we sat in our backyard. 

It's been six months since that day. I will remember 2022 as a year of loss. Our cat Smoky, my beloved dad, and our sweet Cookie. I miss her. Her wiggle butt as she and Bear vied for attention when I came home. Her Hide-a-Head between knees so she could get scritches. Surprising folks with her head between their legs. And just her sweet goofy self. Run free little girl. You were well and truly loved and cherished. 

The Berrigan Family
For the Love of Rufus

Today we said goodbye to our sweet 13 year-old Aussie Rufus (former NS4AR name Snickers) that we adopted from you (initially fostered by Pam Caldwell) in 2011. He was a wonderful companion / brother to our 1-year-older Aussie Charlie, and our 3 kids now ages 10, 8 and 5. 

He had the best Aussie smile to greet the people that he loved. He semi-obsessed over ball-chasing in his younger days but also enjoyed belly rubs and lounging. In his ball chasing/ retrieving days he had this wonderful way of dropping the ball in front of you and intermittently nudging it closer with his nose until you picked it up. He gave friendly greetings to adults and sweet kisses to children that he met.

We worried about how he might react when we had our first child, but he welcomed them to the family without jealousy or offense, and we stopped worrying as we added 2 more kids to the mix. 

 Our oldest child, who is now 10 and was particularly fond of him, chose to join us to honor and snuggle sweet Rufus as he peacefully crossed over the rainbow bridge this morning at home. We hope he is back to wrestling and running with his brother Charlie in puppy heaven. 

 He will forever be in the hearts of the Demartini family and be missed immensely.  
Finn (just Finn, although he answers to Fineas, Finnigan, or Finneas Ferb)

My wife and I retired to rural New Hampshire and not long after we lost our first Aussie, who we loved for 13 years. We wanted a similar boy, a calm, medium-energy companion who we could always count on when we were up for a “4000 footer” hike in the White Mountains. He came to us in 2017 as “Sir Walter”, as he was found in NC., and he was only 2 years old. He definitely had a rough start, and needed some “peeps” he could count on. The wonderful foster parents told us about his disposition on a phone call and we immediately knew he was the one for us. Demonstrating himself as a “Houdini”, there wasn’t a crate that could hold him, and since he didn’t care to damage anything in the house, we decided to not crate him at all. We never regretted that, as he proved himself as a respectful boy. In the beginning he had anxiety issues, and was convinced every time we left the house that we were never coming back. He had difficulty figuring out how to walk on a leash, but over time we trained him to be a great walker. As it turns out, the three of us need 4-7 miles a day to keep us happy.  

This boy has come so far! We now leave for a dinner with no worries, he’s a great walker, and his off-leash hiking skills are amazing. He can negotiate anything in his path, and he stays within eye-sight, of course ahead of us, egging us on to make better time to the summit! He loves other dogs, he’s friends with many cats, and I can say there’s never been a human he had an issue with either! Our town is small, and has lots of outdoor activities. Many people in town know him on sight, and he gets a great many treats from the town employees, and our postman, FedEx and UPS delivery men. Children are particularly drawn to him, and due to his gentle demeanor, even the most timid child seems to know that it’s OK to approach and give him a pat. Love is something he can count on now. 

​We live on an amazing lake up here, and he loves car trips and boat trips alike! In fact, he’s good with pretty much anything, as long as he’s with us. He’s not a night owl and prefers to settle-down for the evening in his dog bed right next to our bed. We love Finn, and he loves us and our adult children. This boy was made for us! Thanks NS4AR, for matching us with our “Soul-mate”. This true blessing, that is Finn. 

- Jan and Paul​