After a chance encounter, one local puppy has found his forever home after being a stray not too long ago.
Maverick, a six-month-old mix of a German Shepherd and Border Collie, was thrown out of a car on Grandad Bluff last month. Three officers responded to an ensuing call to pick him up. One of them was Civilian Resource Officer Aidan Hutfless, who decided to adopt Maverick for himself.
Hutfless says the rescue had a lot of ups and downs.
“When we first picked him up, he was really skittish of us,” Hutfless said. “But then he warmed up to us after a couple of beef jerky bites. Then we brought him back to the PD where he kind of ran around our command room with our shift supervisors. Then we took him to the Coulee Region Humane Society where he stayed for a couple days.”
Despite only being around each other for a short time, Hutfless fell in love with Maverick and knew he had to take him home.
“A part of me felt obligated to,” Hutfless said. “I don’t know why. I just felt like I had a connection with him right away. He was just instantly coming up to me and all that kind of stuff. He seemed very loving towards me. We needed a dog, too, and he just felt like the perfect fit.”
The Coulee Region Humane Society’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Erin Olson, says that many who bring strays to the center end up adopting the animals.
“Sometimes if somebody finds a stray animal, they fall in love,” Olson said. “Obviously, you want to do the due diligence. Hopefully get that animal back to their home. But if the animal makes it through their four-day stray hold and nobody comes in to claim that animal, then we contact that finder and give them the option for adoption if they’re still interested.”
Now home with a loving family, Huftless said Maverick is acting like any other dog would.
“He is a very energetic puppy,” Hutfless said. “But he is also a very sweet and affectionate puppy, too. We play with him all the time. He’ll sit on the couch and cuddle with us and sleep the day away once in a while.”
Hutfless said that the thought of turning Maverick into a K-9 officer has been considered, but no decision has been made. He added that the department has plans to set Maverick up for a play date with Cheddar the therapy dog.
Olson added that what to do when finding a stray depends on the location. In La Crosse, she says to first contact Animal Control at (608) 781-4014.