From Ace to Archie – it often takes a village of caring volunteers, staff and community.

When Ace came to the Seattle Animal Shelter in June of 2013, the paperwork indicated he was evidence in a cruelty case. His owner had allegedly been abusing him so the shelter was his new home until his case made it through the lengthy process of the court system. Even though volunteers were not allowed to interact with Ace because he was a “Court Case Animal”, he was impossible to ignore and immediately caught the eye and heart of one very dedicated volunteer named Pamela.

After almost a year of being in the system, Ace had developed a strong attachment to Animal Care Officer Amanda Tattersall-Craft, who returned his affections with love, attention, treats and blankets.   Ace was getting plenty of daily walks with Officer Amanda and other staff members was given enrichment toys to play with in his kennel, but he was starting to display typical signs of shelter stress after so many months of confinement.  He barked almost continuously and would become uncomfortable when he had to leave his kennel.  Ace had earned the nickname of Blanket Boy because he loved to tear up blankets – lots of blankets.  He tore up blankets at almost a rate of 2 to 3 a day – often a displacement behavior due to stress. Ace was also starting to have health issues, including a staph infection on his skin.  Ace was deteriorating and something had to change.

A small group of advanced volunteer dog walkers were approved to interact with Ace.  Pamela had only been volunteering for about a year and was not yet an approved advanced dog walker.  But Ace was her motivation and she asked to be evaluated to join this elite group of experienced volunteers. After passing her evaluation, Pamela would always walk Ace on her shift and often would come in early and stay late to spend extra time with him. But that just wasn’t enough and Pamela started to think about fostering him.  She even started looking for a new place to live – a place that would allow a dog of Ace’s size. Once she found a new apartment and all the approvals were in place, Pamela leashed up Ace, tucked a blanket under her arm, and took him to his new foster home.

Ace thrived.  His shelter stress faded away and other than occasional nightmares and the need for some patience and space when meeting new dogs, he was blossoming into a wonderful companion dog.  After 18 months and the end of his court case, he was finally adopted by Pamela and Ace officially became Archie when all the papework was finalized.

Part of every adoption packet for all animals adopted from the shelter is a free wellness visit to a local veterinarian.   Pamela had noticed a small lump on Archie’s head just a week before his adoption. During his wellness visit, the vet biopsied the lump and it turned out to be a mast cell tumor and an appointment was made for surgery.  Soon word of his tumor and impending surgery spread on social media and friends and volunteers raised $1500 to help cover the cost of his medical bills. He came home with clean margins and a big scar on his head to an adoption party where he was surrounded by more than 35 friends who all had a part of helping Ace in his journey to become Archie.

Today Archie is living with Pamela and a fellow shelter volunteer in a new house with a yard. He loves to snuggle, play with toys and eat cheese. He still hasn’t eaten or shredded a single blanket but will often great Pamela at the door with a blanket in his mouth and parade it around his new yard and home – it’s the same blanket that Pamela took home with her when he began to foster him so many months ago.