Meet the

Underdogs


We all know that no pet is perfect. Loveable, yes. Perfect, no. The furry friends in these stories would likely not have survived without help from some very dedicated people, from rescuing networks to shelters to fosterers to adopters. Meet Pepe from Puerto Rico, Mister from Louisiana, and Frenchie from Perry County.

By Cindy Kalinoski

Photography by Donovan Roberts Witmer and Jen Foster

Meet the

Underdogs


We all know that no pet is perfect. Loveable, yes. Perfect, no. The furry friends in these stories would likely not have survived without help from some very dedicated people, from rescuing networks to shelters to fosterers to adopters. Meet Pepe from Puerto Rico, Mister from Louisiana, and Frenchie from Perry County.

By Cindy Kalinoski

Photography by Donovan Roberts Witmer

Meet Mister


The way Kurt Eikenberg heard it, a rescue team tried to corral a pack of loose feral dogs in Louisiana last year, and it took three days for them to pick up one cute, very fast beagle-mix puppy. Mister, who Eikenberg eventually adopted, turned out to be a challenge. He wasn’t disobedient; he was more like a statue. He explains, “You could pick him up and put him somewhere and he wouldn’t move, one ear up, one ear down. Then if you turned around, he was gone, hiding under the table, totally petrified.”

 

After the rescue chase and necessary quarantine, Mister was, understandably, afraid of people. Samantha Green, who’s worked with thousands of dogs and fostered many, including Mister, says he was “the least socialized but the most favorable one. He would run from me, and I’d never had a dog that didn’t know how to walk on a leash. So my two pit bulls started teaching him what to do.” When Kurt and his wife, Nancy, visited the York SPCA, Mister happened to be in the office with his fosterer. “He pasted himself to my leg and wouldn’t move,” Green recalls. Then something unexpected happened: Mister approached Nancy. Green’s eyes filled with tears. “I saw a dog I took that had not had contact with people go right up to her,” she says. “It was like a miracle.”

 

The Eikenbergs took Mister home with them. He bonded really well with Nancy but seemed to prefer the company of fellow rescue residents Zore (a cat) and Crash (a bunny) over Kurt’s. At the time, Mister’s biggest problem was shredding paper (even books) into confetti. And then Nancy died. At first, Mister wouldn’t move from Nancy’s bed. So Kurt began a new ritual: Last thing at night and first thing in the morning, Kurt would break a cookie in half and split it between the cat and the dog. This seemed to comfort Mister, and he and Kurt grew closer.

 

There are still challenges: Kurt had to corner the dog, then carry him to the truck for an R-I-D-E to the V-E-T. But Mister has hobbies now: chasing squirrels, dozing on the couch, and eating pretzels. He’s even bold enough to tease the German shepherd next door. He remembers his fosterer, but when he sees Green nowadays, Mister runs back to Kurt for assurance.

Meet Mister


The way Kurt Eikenberg heard it, a rescue team tried to corral a pack of loose feral dogs in Louisiana last year, and it took three days for them to pick up one cute, very fast beagle-mix puppy. Mister, who Eikenberg eventually adopted, turned out to be a challenge. He wasn’t disobedient; he was more like a statue. He explains, “You could pick him up and put him somewhere and he wouldn’t move, one ear up, one ear down. Then if you turned around, he was gone, hiding under the table, totally petrified.”

 

After the rescue chase and necessary quarantine, Mister was, understandably, afraid of people. Samantha Green, who’s worked with thousands of dogs and fostered many, including Mister, says he was “the least socialized but the most favorable one. He would run from me, and I’d never had a dog that didn’t know how to walk on a leash. So my two pit bulls started teaching him what to do.” When Kurt and his wife, Nancy, visited the York SPCA, Mister happened to be in the office with his fosterer. “He pasted himself to my leg and wouldn’t move,” Green recalls. Then something unexpected happened: Mister approached Nancy. Green’s eyes filled with tears. “I saw a dog I took that had not had contact with people go right up to her,” she says. “It was like a miracle.”

 

The Eikenbergs took Mister home with them. He bonded really well with Nancy but seemed to prefer the company of fellow rescue residents Zore (a cat) and Crash (a bunny) over Kurt’s. At the time, Mister’s biggest problem was shredding paper (even books) into confetti. And then Nancy died. At first, Mister wouldn’t move from Nancy’s bed. So Kurt began a new ritual: Last thing at night and first thing in the morning, Kurt would break a cookie in half and split it between the cat and the dog. This seemed to comfort Mister, and he and Kurt grew closer.

 

There are still challenges: Kurt had to corner the dog, then carry him to the truck for an R-I-D-E to the V-E-T. But Mister has hobbies now: chasing squirrels, dozing on the couch, and eating pretzels. He’s even bold enough to tease the German shepherd next door. He remembers his fosterer, but when he sees Green nowadays, Mister runs back to Kurt for assurance.

Meet Frenchie


Frenchie had been at Speranza Animal Rescue shelter for two-and-a-half years, and volunteer dog walker Kim Fager had her eye on the pit bull mix. Frenchie was rescued from an animal cruelty situation, where she’d spent her life tied to a tree. She was too timid to join the pack at the rescue, so Kim took her home to, allegedly, “just foster her.” Almost a year later, Frenchie is one of the Fager gang. Kim comments, “She has learned so much and grown into this beautiful, loving, tolerant, patient dog.”

 

It’s a good thing, too, because besides the Fager’s two kids, a yellow lab and two mini Australian shepherds already called the house home. Since then, Kim fostered and adopted two more rescues from Speranza, Hans and Brady. “It’s not normal to have six dogs,” laughs Kim. “It’s embarrassing. But my rescue dogs are my best dogs.” She still volunteers at the rescue, because she loves everything about it, but she tries not to be tempted.

 

As for Frenchie, she’s busy rolling in the grass, swimming in their saltwater pool, and eating her favorite snack, green beans. And if anyone’s going for a ride, she’s ready to roll.

Meet Frenchie


Frenchie had been at Speranza Animal Rescue shelter for two-and-a-half years, and volunteer dog walker Kim Fager had her eye on the pit bull mix. Frenchie was rescued from an animal cruelty situation, where she’d spent her life tied to a tree. She was too timid to join the pack at the rescue, so Kim took her home to, allegedly, “just foster her.” Almost a year later, Frenchie is one of the Fager gang. Kim comments, “She has learned so much and grown into this beautiful, loving, tolerant, patient dog.”

 

It’s a good thing, too, because besides the Fager’s two kids, a yellow lab and two mini Australian shepherds already called the house home. Since then, Kim fostered and adopted two more rescues from Speranza, Hans and Brady. “It’s not normal to have six dogs,” laughs Kim. “It’s embarrassing. But my rescue dogs are my best dogs.” She still volunteers at the rescue, because she loves everything about it, but she tries not to be tempted.

 

As for Frenchie, she’s busy rolling in the grass, swimming in their saltwater pool, and eating her favorite snack, green beans. And if anyone’s going for a ride, she’s ready to roll.

Meet Pepe


When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico September 20, 2017, it created a disaster for more than just people. The situation was also bleak for dogs like Pepe. Fortunately, he was part of a group evacuated and brought to the Humane Pennsylvania in Lancaster County. Ellie Scheurich, who works there, says, “It was really scary at first; he weighed only six lbs. He was so lethargic, he just lay around.” Quarantine was a must, since he hadn’t had a rabies shot. Ellie and other staffers, gowned and gloved, gave Pepe fluids and meds twice daily and spent any time they could with him. The turnaround was stunning. “Once we were able to get his illness under control,” she says, “he turned into an amazing dog.” He played 24/7 with Ellie’s German shepherd while she fostered him. Humane Pennsylvania posted “a special plea for a special home” on Facebook, since Pepe still had a few medical issues.

 

Meanwhile, heartbroken at the death of their two-year-old dog English bulldog due to severe illness, Nirvana Bosley and her boyfriend Adoniz were looking for just the right pup. When they saw the post, they immediately applied for Pepe. A very special connection was that both Nirvana and Adoniz’s families are from Puerto Rico as well. “Still, we knew what we were getting into health-wise,” says Nirvana. They understood about pet medical bills and told Ellie, “We’re not going to deny the dog in any way.” Nirvana and Adoniz adopted Pepe on Valentine’s Day.

 

From the moment he met them, Pepe made it clear he was their dog, barking at everyone but them. He began following his new mom everywhere. His life is a happy one: he plays with fellow campers at doggy day care, goes on outings, and chills on the patio with his owners. Now weighing 20 lbs., Pepe has graduated from obedience classes. Nirvana observes, “He’s the most perfect dog now; all he wants to play.” As for his heritage, Ellie admits, “We have no idea what kind of dog Pepe is. But he’s definitely a loveable mutt.”

Meet Pepe


When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, it created a disaster for more than just people. The situation was also bleak for dogs like Pepe. Fortunately, he was part of a group evacuated and brought to the Humane Pennsylvania in Lancaster County. Ellie Scheurich, who works there, says, “It was really scary at first; he weighed only six pounds. He was so lethargic, he just laid around.” Quarantine was a must, since he hadn’t had a rabies shot. Ellie and other staffers, gowned and gloved, gave Pepe fluids and meds twice daily and spent any time they could with him. The turnaround was stunning. “Once we were able to get his illness under control,” she says, “he turned into an amazing dog.” He played 24/7 with Ellie’s German shepherd while she fostered him. Humane Pennsylvania posted “a special plea for a special home” on Facebook, since Pepe still had a few medical issues.

 

Meanwhile, heartbroken at the death of their two-year-old English bulldog due to severe illness, Nirvana Bosley and her boyfriend Adoniz were looking for just the right pup. When they saw the post, they immediately applied for Pepe. A very special connection was that both Nirvana and Adoniz’s families are from Puerto Rico as well. “Still, we knew what we were getting into health-wise,” says Nirvana. They understood about pet medical bills and told Ellie, “We’re not going to deny the dog in any way.” Nirvana and Adoniz adopted Pepe on Valentine’s Day.

 

From the moment he met them, Pepe made it clear he was their dog, barking at everyone but them. He began following his new mom everywhere. His life is a happy one: he plays with fellow campers at doggy day care, goes on outings, and chills on the patio with his owners. Now weighing 20 pounds, Pepe has graduated from obedience classes. Nirvana observes, “He’s the most perfect dog now; all he wants is to play.” As for his heritage, Ellie admits, “We have no idea what kind of dog Pepe is. But he’s definitely a loveable mutt.”