What better way to celebrate National Dog Day than with a story about Lassie? How about a story in which Lassie is actually Alice where Alice is a Collie rescued from a high kill shelter in South Korea who finds her way to California where she saves her new owner from harm? Because that is what happened. And between dogs from Spain becoming therapy dogs and helping start prison programs and Korean Collies saving lives…I just might have to start an “Immigrants are Making Our Canine Nation Great” category.
Alice’s story begins in a shelter in South Korea where she had arrived as a stray. She was being held for a ten day period to allow any surfacing owners to find her. After the hold expired, she would be euthanized if left unclaimed. Team Inch volunteer Wendy Lee Williams was alerted to her presence by a collie-enthusiast friend and immediately went to work to provide rescue for her if needed. Team Inch, named for “Inch”, a rescued greyhound, works to rescue sight hounds and larger breed dogs, partnering with rescues in Canada and the U.S. as finding safe forever homes in South Korea for larger dogs can be difficult to achieve.
Through a contact of a university professor in Korea, Wendy contacted Louise Patterson, a Canadian woman active in rescue, to see if international placement could be arranged. Louise, in turn, contacted Karen Boselly, President of the NorCal Collie Rescue who agreed to take Alice. With commitment in hand, Wendy began the rescue process. However, as Wendy explained it, the shelter tried to discourage her, saying the dog was older (she was not) and had failing eyesight (also untrue). Nonetheless, Wendy persisted and was given custody of Alice after which a very kind three star General Chun of the Korean ROK Army offered to house her while a vet check was completed and arrangements were made for a companion to travel with her to the U.S.
Two months later, five year old Alice arrived in San Francisco on Christmas Eve in 2014. This detail would almost be too much if this was a movie, but sometimes real life events are strangely prophetic like that. Apart from some muscle atrophy which may have been due to excessive crating, she was in robust health and before long was putting on muscle and enjoying life in her foster home.
Shortly after the New Year, Helen and Paul Larson adopted her, dubbing her “Allie.”
Six months later, Helen was inside doing housework when she heard Allie pacing back and forth on the outside porch. She let her inside and Allie proceeded to follow Helen, laying at her feet and staring intently into her eyes as if trying to achieve a “mind meld”. Helen noted the unusual behavior but continued to clean so Allie resorted to Plan B, frantically running to a door she never uses to go outside and insisting that Helen open it.
Helen was taken aback by the odd behavior but she missed her line.
She was supposed to say, “What is it Lassie? Timmy is in the well?!” but instead said, “Allie, you just went out!” as she opened the door.
Allie took off like a shot and headed to a steep hill leading down to a creek, an area where she never goes, ignoring Helen’s urgent attempts to call her back.
That is when she heard her husband calling for help.
Paul, 88, suffers from dementia and, also uncharacteristically, had decided to walk down to the creek and had fallen, with his head facing down the hill so he was unable to right himself.
Paul was in such an awkward position that Helen could not get him up by herself. Just as she was going to go call a neighbor for help, their son showed up and helped her to get Paul up and into the house.
Without Allie’s insistent behavior, there is simply no telling how long Paul would have laid there undiscovered and helpless. Happily, he was unscathed and all is well.
And that, my friends, is how Collies roll.
Filed under: Inspiration & Happy Stories