Henry was born on August 13, 2008 in the home a big-hearted woman who fosters dogs for a small, private rescue organization. His mom was found wandering the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles in early August 2008. When I first met him he was 2 months old. I only have this fuzzy photo, but you can see how cute he was. It’s hard to guess the breed of a puppy at that age because they all look the same. He was in a little playpen in the front yard of his foster mom with his three siblings. One of his sisters was black and tan, like him. The others sister and brother were gray. When I asked his foster mom what breed he was, I was surprised to learn that his mom was a Chihuahua mix. I’d never had a little dog, and didn’t think I even liked them, but on the day I met Henry that all changed.
Two months after meeting Henry I adopted him and took him home. My husband Don and our two big dogs graciously accepted him, and he settled in right away. He was house-broken within 24 hours.
At six months, Henry was ready to start his basic obedience class, which would prepare him for his service dog training with Penny Scott Fox, one of the nation’s most respected dog behavioral specialists. She created and ran the behavior department for the Pasadena Humane Society in Pasadena, California for twelve years, and is a fellow of the Pet Behavior Institute in Durham, England.
For nine months, we went to classes with Penny, and diligently practiced our lessons. He learned specific tasks to assist me, and I learned how to communicate with him. At the end of our class work we were tested as a team by a certified service dog trainer and Henry started coming with me to work at the zoo.
He LOVED coming with me to work, and since I worked in the volunteer department of a zoo, and was surrounded by animal lovers.Henry very quickly acquired many friends and fans.
Docents loved to take photos of him…
And one of his docent friends, Marie Vester, a talented artist, made a drawing of him and put the image on a greeting card.
Henry at work.
Henry’s Christmas outfit.