By Janet McAfee

Sometimes the best things come to those who wait.  Many adopters at the Humane Society of the Coachella Valley (HSOCV) walked past a lovely 10-year-old Foxhound named Hannah.  Most people seek a young or middle aged animal.  Shelter volunteer Cali Trevino told all her contacts and Facebook friends about the animals needing homes.  Cali’s mother-in-law was styling a client’s hair and happened to tell the story about Hannah.

Jessica Swanson recalls, “One day I was at my hair stylist and she mentioned her daughter-in-law, Cali, was working with a senior dog at the HSOCV.  Getting a third dog was something my husband and I never considered.  We also have two cats.  All my animals are rescues.  And I thought how awful that a dog that age was in a shelter. However, we weren’t sure if Hannah was aggressive towards other animals.”

Jessica continues, “Sometimes rescue dogs came with baggage, issues that involve various forms of anxiety.  My dogs continue with dog training.  It’s really the people who need the training, and I’ve learned everything I can about dogs from Dancing with Dogs trainers.  My dog Gracie is a 4-year-old Shepherd mix with super calm energy.  Bari is my 5-year-old Goldendoodle rescue. Dances with Dogs uses only positive techniques, and one of their trainers specializes in reactive dogs.  I’m careful and firm with Hannah and Bari who can both be reactive.  CBD oil helps them relax.”


“The HSOCV has done such amazing work with Hannah.  They accommodated her anxiety by walking her separately and taking her by herself to exercise in the play yard.  Her enrichment primary involved being with humans, but Jon walked her with his well-balanced dogs.”

Jessica advises, “Whether it’s a big dog or a small dog, they are living beings who need to be honored and not thrown away.  They become part of who we are when they come into our lives.  Some animals at shelters come with baggage, but they are resilient, and with patience and forgiveness overcome.  A large dog is no more work than a small dog, and they all need to know commands.”

“Hannah went behind our drum set when she first arrived.  I fed her by hand to comfort her.  When she finally emerged, I hugged her and put down a special quilt for her, she then claimed her spot on the bed.  On the day she drank water with Bari, she officially joined our family pack.  She chased a cat once, but the cat quickly gave her a ‘what for’ and that was it.  She equally loves me and my husband Mike Poor.”

“Hannah is so smart, and the people who walked past her at the shelter missed out.  It took two weeks for her to realize how much we wanted her, and from then on she stayed in our bedroom at night.  She comes up for her snuggles every evening.  Hannah and I do yoga nidra exercise together.  When I lay on the floor exercising, Bari lays at my feet while Hannah lovingly puts her head on my shoulder.   We are currently exploring laser treatment and other holistic remedies to help Hannah with the joint problems that can affect older dogs.”

Hannah is pictured here lounging with her dog siblings.  Jessica explains, “The only reason we have furniture is for the dogs!”  The couple turned the hot tub in their back into a sand box for the pups to play in.  Hannah will live out her senior years in a home surrounded by wonderful animal companions and a couple who treasure and love her dearly.

Jon Nimitz, shelter manager, at HSOCV does amazing work transforming traumatized and neglected dogs at the facility. This shelter is one of the largest private shelters in the Coachella Valley that rescues large size dogs.  They also have cats and small dogs.  You can contact them at (760) 329-0203.  The shelter is located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, North Palm Springs.  Please call first for an appointment.  View their animals, learn about volunteering, and donate at  This is the place for folks seeking to adopt a wonderful large dog.