By Janet McAfee

Sometimes great thing come to those who wait. The Christmas season is a time for miracles, and a homeless dog named Flower kept the faith there would be one for her.

On July 23, 2022, 1-yr-old Flower entered the Riverside County shelter in Thousand Palms as a stray dog.  She had fly bites on her ears indicating long periods of time spent outdoors.  She became a staff favorite and was nicknamed “Rockstar of the Dog Playgroup” as the young canine loved to run with the other dogs.  Flower told her story in a previous CV Weekly article, but at the end of the week there was still no adopter for the wonderful dog.

“I was at the shelter for almost 90 days.  My heart broke when my owner never came for me, and I watched other dogs leave for their new homes.  People would walk by my kennel and say they wanted a small dog, a poodle or Maltese.  I’m 42 pounds of doggie love and loyalty, the perfect size to protect my family and the perfect size for hiking and car rides.  I heard a staff person say I was his favorite dog, but he told me black dogs have a harder time getting adopted. We medium and large size dogs lingered at the shelter, humans not knowing our greatness and how easy we are to train.”


“I was thankful to the staff and volunteers who kept my spirits up.  They took me for walks outside my kennel and to the outdoor playground where I ran like the wind. It would be great if I got a home with another dog or two, but my first love is people and the more attention I get the better. This magazine featured my story and lovely professional photo, but at the end of the week I was still here. I never gave up hope thanks to the encouragement of the folks at the shelter.”

“On October 21, a nice woman from Loving All Animals arrived with the good news she had a foster home for a dog my size.  I was thrilled, said goodbye to my canine buddies, and the world looked beautiful on the car ride to a home.  I was a free spirit, able to enjoy the sunshine outdoors, and snug inside a loving home much of the day and evening.  I thankfully hugged my foster mom, Bernie Saldana.  I especially loved being fostered by Ruth and Ron Agresti, and their German Shepherd Sonny was my best brother. The weeks passed and no one called Loving All Animals to adopt me.”

“One day I saw my supplies and crate being loaded up into the car!  I met a nice couple at the shelter who visited me for a long time. I started to follow them as they left, but the gate closed behind them!  I didn’t want to get into the car afterwards, and had to be lifted in.  My head hung over the car seat in sadness.  I pulled myself together and maintained my hope.  My foster mom called Ruth Agresti on her cell and had her talk to me.  At the sound of her voice, I wagged my tail and kissed the phone!”

Craig Michaels, a local real estate agent and member of the hiking club, was contacted for help.  He has almost 4,000 Facebook friends.  Within minutes of Craig’s Facebook post, David Rubarth posted, “I want that dog” along with a flashing I LOVE DOGS post. I spoke to David and his wife Nancy for quite awhile, and it sounded like the perfect home for Flower.  There was a ½ acre to run and their 15-yr-old son is home schooled with time to be with a dog.  The couple are ardent rescue supporters, and explained they want to bring some holiday joy into their home after the recent passing of some extended family members.  They have a senior Alpha dog who enjoys canine companionship.

On December 14, It was the perfect match when David arrived at Loving All Animals.  His son Reece, family friend Phazz, and their dog Sophie welcomed Flower, a pup who craves lots of human and canine contact.  The dog now named Roxy joyfully jumped into their pickup truck.  Soon a video appeared on Facebook of Roxy running like an Olympic star through the Rubarth’s large yard.

David updates us, “Roxy is great!  She does so well on walks.  She loves to hug and hugs me all the time”.  Nancy adds, “She is one of the easiest young dogs I’ve ever had.  Our 4-yr-old and 10-yr-old grandchildren are visiting, and Roxy knows to be very gentle with them.  My daughter is helping to potty train Roxy with a bell she can ring by the back door.”

We celebrate this happy ending for Roxy.  However, hundreds more medium and large size dogs wait for homes at crowded local public shelters.  Through no fault of their own, these larger pups are in crisis in many parts of the country. Will you foster one for Loving All Animals?  Call (760) 834-7000,  You can help select the dog and be involved in the adoption process.  We cover all veterinary needs and offer training classes where you can bring your foster.  We provide back up if you go out of town.

If you decide to adopt your foster dog, “foster failures” are welcome.  Either way you can be part of a happy ending in the New Year 2023.