STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Ellen Harris went to The Falls on the Colorado Museum to learn about bees and ended up adopting a dog.
On March 2, the museum hosted beekeeper Rebecca Nunnally, who presented the program “What’s the Buzz About: Bees.” The museum had also invited the Highland Lakes SPCA to bring some of its adoptable dogs in an effort to socialize the canines. It was the catalyst for the two organizations’ “Free the Dog” adoption days, which are 10 a.m-1 p.m. the second Saturday of the month at the museum, 2001 Broadway in Marble Falls. The next one is April 13.
On March 2, 2-year-old Apollo, a Rhodesian ridgeback mix, sat patiently through Nunnally’s presentation and caught Harris’s eye.
Once the program finished, she went over to meet Apollo.
“He was so handsome and smart looking,” she said. “He leaned on my hand and licked it.”
Days later, even though the Meadowlakes family wasn’t looking for a dog, Ellen couldn’t get Apollo out of her mind and told her husband, Joe, about him.
Their middle school-age daughter, Allie, overheard the conversation.
“I found someone else,” Allie recalled her mother telling her father. “There’s another man in my life, another younger man.”
“You woke me up to tell me that?” Joe replied.
Soon after, Joe, Allie, and Jake, the couple’s son, met Apollo and immediately understood why Ellen wanted the dog to be the newest family member. He was friendly but not demanding and was even-tempered.
The idea that shelter dogs don’t make good pets isn’t true, and pups like Apollo demonstrate that.
Apollo was living in a shelter in Austin last summer when Highland Lakes SPCA Director Karen Reynolds found him and brought him to the local facility. All this led to Apollo being at The Falls on the Colorado Museum that day when Ellen met him.
The Harris family adopted Apollo, and vice versa, one might say. Since settling in, he’s become a big part of the family. Apollo enjoys bugging two stray cats that have “adopted” the family as well.
“He’s excited to see that lion-colored cat,” Ellen said with a grin.
Even Kirby, the family’s 14-year-old dog, is more energetic and playful, following Apollo’s example.
Apollo’s personality fits the family. He excitedly greets each of them when they get home from work or school and also knows not to be overly jubilant in how he says hello.
“He is so smart,” Ellen said. “He knows we all need kisses when we get home from a long day at work.”
“He sits in the corner and watches and thinks, ‘Y’all are crazy,’” Joe said. “I don’t care for the needy dogs. He’s more my style of dog.”
“He’ll stop and sit,” Ellen said. “He has a fair bit of self-control. He does have that intuitive sense of not wanting to get in trouble.”
“When he wants something, he comes up and rests his chin and stares,” Allie said. “He rests his chin on your leg.”
When it came to deciding where to sleep, Apollo was like Goldilocks in “The Three Bears.” He tried the couch, Allie’s bed, and Jake’s bed then stayed with Allie.
“I have to curl around him because he takes my spot,” Allie said. “He hops up and lays down. I wanted him to sleep in my bed.”
They noted there was a little adjustment period when Apollo moved in.
They believe he was nervous about being in a new space, so he wouldn’t eat. The Harrises often found Apollo sitting in front of a window, looking outside and appearing sad. They think it might have been because he missed his friends at the Highland Lakes SPCA.
The other struggle was Apollo’s fear of getting in the family vehicle for a trip. The family thinks it might have been because he thought he was going back to the shelter, so he didn’t want to leave with the family. The only time he seemed happy was when they all came back home.
As the days have turned to weeks, Apollo has grown more secure in his place in the family and more ingrained in their hearts.
In other words, Apollo is a Harris forever.
“We feel really blessed to have found him,” Joe said.
Check out the Highland Lakes SPCA’s website for more information about the monthly “Free the Dog” adoption days at the museum or to view adoptable dogs.