When I got up Sunday morning, I didn’t know I’d be making a new friend.  I had normal Sunday plans – get up, go to church, eat lunch, etc.  Instead, I got a pleasant surprise.

Rooney is a young man. He is intelligent, cheerful and energetic.  He is quick to make friends and engage them in activities. Did I mention that Rooney is a dog?

I met Rooney at the Lee County Humane Society’s Summer of Second Chances Kick-off event. Last year, from June 1 through Sept. 30, the shelter adopted out 369 pets. The goal this year is to boost that number to 500.

Rooney is one of the dogs that needs a home.

Rooney is around a year old and is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix. At this point, he’s a two-tone dog.  His head and legs are smooth and dark brown, while his body is the color Chessie folks call Deadgrass, with much longer hair. He’s shedding out right now, so I can’t tell you what color he’ll be when he’s done blowing his coat, or if he’ll be one of those dogs that’s one color in the summer and something else in the winter.  It will be a fun time of discovery for his adopters!

When I first saw Rooney, he was inside in his kennel. An LCHS employee was standing with her back to him as she talked to some visitors.  Rooney was reaching through the gap between the gate and the wall, trying to hook her ankle with his paw.

I grabbed a lead and took him outside. After being kenneled for much of the morning, he was very energetic and excited to be out. Despite his energy level, he remained focused on me and on getting attention.

Rooney obviously loves children. There were lots of them at the event, and he was alert and interested in all of them. His tail wagged the fastest when they were nearby.  He’s also received some training at some point in his life.  When a treat bag came out, he sat quickly, and continued to sit on command. He walked nicely on leash and responded to cues.

LCHS has a lovely, shaded fenced area down the hill in front of the building. I took Rooney into it and allowed him to go off leash. He loved retrieving and had a great time playing keep away with one of the other shelter dogs.

He showed me by his behavior that he enjoys interacting with other dogs but that he also knows how to be polite. When the other dog decided to guard the toy a little, he responded well and backed off. He would do great in a home with another dog.

It was sad to put Rooney back in his concrete run and walk off, when what I wanted to do was toss him in the back of my Jeep and drive away. We have a houseful of dogs already though and aren’t in the market for another pet at this time. The good news is that Rooney is a wonderful dog who will make a fantastic family member for some lucky person.

If you’re planning to add a new pet to your family this summer, please stop in at LCHS and see the great dogs they have available. Don’t choose a dog based solely on its looks. Before you adopt a dog, think carefully about your lifestyle and the energy level of the dog you’d like to add. Consider your ideal size, the needs of all the people in the family and other pets in the family.

If you decide that the ideal companion is a small- to medium-sized dog, don’t choose a Great Dane mix because he’s cute. Take time to meet the dogs that seem to be what you’re looking for.

It might take time to find the right fit for your family, but don’t rush. You’re looking for a new family member to spend years with.

There are many amazing dogs out there in need of new homes, including my new friend Rooney. Should you add him to your family, let me know, and I’ll meet you for a free private lesson to celebrate!

Karlene Turkington, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, is a lifelong animal lover who has been training dogs for over 20 years. Readers are welcome to send their questions to: info@TrainMyK-9.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Information provided here is a basic overview of issues. Specific health or behavioral concerns should be discussed with your veterinarian or qualified animal trainer or behaviorist.