They say that a dog will remember you forever if you spend just ten minutes with him on two occasions. I believe it.

We celebrate every adoption from the shelter, but this one was especially special to me. This affectionate and incredibly easy-going yellow lab mix named Tanner was finally adopted last week after more than nine months at the shelter! Who knows why it took so long?

Tanner came to the shelter last spring. I took Tanner’s picture for the Pet Finder website on June 4th. He was featured on KTVO’s Thursday morning “Pet of the Week” segment soon afterward. But no one came to adopt him.

They say that a dog will remember you forever if you spend just ten minutes with him on two occasions. I believe it. After I photographed Tanner in early June, he became a regular walking buddy of mine. All it takes is two times. Which means that by the third time, he saw me coming with leash in hand and barked joyfully. After that we walked once or twice a week for the next forty plus weeks. (Other volunteers walked him too. In fact, shelter dogs sometimes get walked several times a day – more than dogs who actually have families and homes!)

I liked to walk Tanner on a retractable leash so that he could get his exercise. He liked to run in big circles around me. He quickly learned his name, to come when called, and to enjoy our "rest time" mid-walk. He would crawl on his belly and smile at me; I would pet him and tell him what a good boy he was. The summer passed this way.

Tanner was on TV again in the fall and soon afterward his picture was published in the Kirksville Daily Express. Still nobody came for him. Meanwhile we knew that he would always have a place at the shelter, because not only did the staff and volunteers all love him, but he also got along well with every dog he ever shared a kennel with. Since he was neutered already, he was able to bunk with boys and girls, young and old. Tanner saw so many others come and go to their adoptive homes. Surely his turn would come soon.

You already know how this ends: finally, after three seasons in the shelter, Tanner was adopted last week by an eight year old boy and his little sister. It’s likely that these savvy adopters did not see him on TV or in the newspaper. But they recognized the spark in his eyes when they met him. And when they hugged him and kissed him, well, it was all over. We’re just sure that Tanner will have these friends for life. And this is nothing less than what he deserves.