I love happy endings and I love animals. Stories about homeless animals that find good homes are, to me, picture perfect moments. It is in that spirit that I regularly write "Happy Tail" stories for the Gastineau Humane Society (GHS). Each story features an animal adopted from there. Both the GHS and the Juneau Empire have generously agreed that this blog is also an appropriate place to further share these stories. Here is the most recent, Maya's story.
Hannah Wilson got exactly what she wanted for her 11th birthday—a dog to call her very own! For some time, Hannah was clear that she wanted a dog but because her family traveled a lot, her dad Jeff was resistant. His reluctance, however, didn’t deter Hannah or her mother Karen, and they secretly started visiting GHS to see what dogs were available. As a homeschooler, Hannah also volunteered at the Humane Society for a couple of years, which enabled her to keep her eyes open for the perfect dog.
The “perfect” dog for the Wilsons arrived at GHS in 2003. A young couple was moving south and couldn’t keep their dog Yum-Yum--a small, golden-colored dog of uncertain lineage. Hannah and Karen spotted this golden beauty from a distance and knew, even before touching her, that this was the dog they’d been seeking. The minute she became available for adoption, they submitted their request, and then told Jeff about the dog. After meeting this energetic young dog, and coupled with a promise from the Wilson’s good friend, Beth Potter, that she would caretake for them when they travelled, Jeff agreed and the adoption was finalized.
The first thing to change was the dog’s name. Yum-Yum just didn’t hit the mark. After about a week of spending time with her, Hannah thought of the perfect new name—Maya—in honor of her best friend in Mexico who shared this name. Ironically, Hannah would learn later that when her friend acquired a new cat, she thought the perfect name for the cat was “Hannah.” Synchronicity!
Maya has proven to be the perfect dog for this active, SE Alaskan family. The Wilsons love to ski, hike, boat, and spend time at their place in Tenakee. Maya quickly learned to love all these same things. Some of her favorite activities include walking at Sandy Beach, running along while her family skate skis at the glacier or skis back country, hiking Juneau’s numerous trails, being on their sailboat, and even flying on the floatplane to Tenakee.
She also loves routine and has her little “rituals” she always follows, including always sleeping with Hannah, being protective of her favorite rawhide toys, and always following the exact same route each time she walks at Sandy Beach. This gentle dog loves being around her family, but Maya is also very independent, which means she does well when they are travelling and she is taken care of by friends.
Over the 10 years they have had her, there are numerous instances when someone has come up to them while out and about and reported they have a dog that “looks just like her” or that they have one of Maya’s siblings. The Wilsons have pieced together that Maya was one of a litter of 13 pups that was born on Thanksgiving day, and that some of her siblings still live in Juneau as well.
At 11 plus years, Maya has mellowed with the passage of time, but remains an active loving companion for the Wilson family. Look for her out on the trails—she is easy to spot—she’ll be leading the way!