Volunteer Spotlight: Sheryl Greene

It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it was dark and raining so hard I couldn’t see the roads my GPS was telling me to turn on.

Lucky 13 Rescue had asked me to write a profile on Cooper, a dog that has been in his foster home for a year. One year. 365 plus days. It’s a long time for a dog to languish in a shelter, but Cooper hit the jackpot when he wound his way through the streets of Drexel, Missouri, leaving a trail of spent people, and found himself in the care of Sheryl and her son, Alex. This last has undoubtedly been the best of his five years.

While Cooper would be perfectly happy to never leave the Greene’s, Sheryl longs to see him in an active home with lots of active people to keep Cooper busy. Because Cooper is very, very busy. At the time of our interview Sheryl had ten dogs; seven personal dogs and three long-term fosters.

When I arrived, the dogs were all kenneled, or in Alex’ room. She let Cooper out and he hit the kitchen like a cyclone. He sprang (Sheryl says he can leap a 4 foot fence, and I believe her) at me, at the treats on the table, his body vibrating with unbridled energy. I’ve never seen strength like his; Sheryl keeps a harness on him at all times so she has something to grab on to.

Like so many dogs with boundless energy, he’s not bad. He’s looking for that special someone who has the time, knowledge (or willingness to learn), and ability to meet Cooper where he is. Where he is . . . he’s crazy. Crazy-good. But still crazy. He also loves to snuggle and wants to be right with you.

Sheryl slowly let the other nine dogs out so I could meet her personal dogs, as well as Ziggy and Rylan, her other fosters. Cooper’s energy faded and was absorbed by the initial chaos; squirming bodies everywhere, all ready to sit for treats. While there’s no time for individual training, all sit calmly on command, looking to Sheryl for affirmation.

When Alex’ Dad passed away about five years ago, Sheryl fostered to adopt a puppy with Lucky 13 Rescue. Since then she’s fostered many dogs. Like most folks who foster, the most rewarding thing for Sheryl is seeing the dogs heal. “Every one has a story.” She’s seen a lot of healing, as she takes on hard cases. Gus was thrown out of a moving car; Ziggy’s mom was a junkyard dog. For those who’ve never opened their hearts and homes, you really can’t imagine the joy of seeing a dog relax for the first time, or run for the first time, or initiate play as an adult.

I asked Sheryl if she has any regrets. “Look at my house.” I did and don’t see what she does. The kitchen is clean and tidy. How does it not smell like dog in her house? Granted, when I peeked around the corner, the living room is blocked with a gate and the dining room is full of kennels, but had I not seen the ten dogs for myself I wouldn’t have believed there were any dogs living there.

The only dog not rescued was purchased as a gift from an ex-boyfriend. (Dudes, know your audience. Seriously.) When asked about the ex, Sheryl froze, clearly not her favorite topic. I gently poked and she said, “He said, no you can’t. And I said, Oh, yes I can!” Then we both laughed maniacally in mutual understanding.

“Are you going to be able to let him go?”, I asked. “Oh yea.” Sheryl will be picky about who adopts him, but with her own personal dogs and the constant flow of pets in need of a stepping stone to the next soft spot, Sheryl wants to see Cooper settled with his own family.

“It’s a lot, isn’t it?” Sheryl says. I ask if she’s reached her limit . . . “not in an emergency. To keep one from being euthanized.”

I’m finally home and Sheryl sends me a message . . . “I have a not so fun part of Fostering so many..... Having to leash walk them in the rain and freezing cold Lol That part is little miserable. But once they're adopted it was of course worth it

Cooper loves to chase cats, jump fences, and excitedly throw his body around. He snuggles, kennels very well, and wants to please. He is unbridled potential. Want to meet him? Fill out an application at Lucky13Rescue.org.