Nigel Finds Home

This post is written by an Alaskan husky named Nigel. Nigel is proud to be from Alaska. He finds the people here so self-reliant and brave. Bravery is always something Nigel has admired – after all his name means ‘champion.’ But it also means darkness.’ For much of his life, he never felt like a champion; he lived in the darkness of fear. But the night is always darkest before the dawn. This is his story.

Nigel comes home

Nigel on the night he returned home.

“I always found a way out. Out of the room, the yard, the car, the leash. Everything terrified me. I was described as “skittish and “timid.” I did not want to be perceived like that, but confidence didn’t come naturally to me.

Finally, my human got tired of chasing me around so he brought me to the shelter. Well, I didn’t like to stay in my kennel so I would just scramble up the walls and sit on the top of my kennel until a shelter worked climbed up and got me down. If I couldn’t go out, at least I could go up. The shelter people were very kind, but I could see the concern on their faces. I heard one say softly to another “I love him dearly, but who is going to adopt this dog? How are they going to keep him safe?” Safe? Safe? I wasn’t sure I knew the meaning of that word.

But then…something incredible happened – I met some humans who were very special. They didn’t seem to be afraid of anything. Even I couldn’t scare them away! In fact, I heard them say that they loved my gentle spirit and goofy smile (well, I think it’s a very charming smile!). I thought that was very nice of them to see past my insecurity. And they brought me to their home! Imagine that!

In our family there is a little human and he’s my favorite. I seek him out because I think we need each other. He is the best person to go to the vet with, he always helps me stay calm. In return, when my little boy is sick or hurt, he just wants to lay against his “doggie-brother” and I am more than happy to oblige.

After about 2-years of happiness, I had a bad day. I was out on my 25’ line for the last time before bed and something scared me. I pulled against the line and the clip to the yard stake broke. I don’t know why but I ran away. Before I knew it, I was lost in every way imaginable.

My family was devastated and terrified that I was tangled up somewhere, due to my line, and wouldn’t be sighted. My little human would lie on my bed and say “Doggie?” over and over again. They did everything right: they searched for me, getting the word out with posters (they hired FedEx to make super professional fliers), they paid Facebook to run an ad, paid for robo-calls to reach out to hundreds of people in my area. And people searched for me, including my trainer, some people from the shelter and even people I didn’t know (I heard that one of them was a pet detective). Wow – I didn’t know I was that important!

Almost a whole week went by and they hadn’t found me. But then, my dad got a Facebook message from someone who said he saw the posters and that he had me and wanted to get me back to my family. Here’s what he told my dad: He saw me the day after I ran away and took me in. He thought to himself “Why are you so sacred? You look a little skinny too….” He thought that because I was shy and kind of skinny that I wasn’t being taken care of properly and didn’t have a wonderful family who I loved and who loved me. So he gave me a new name and kept me in his house. Once again, I was terrified; not of him, but that I would never see my family again. I needed to escape but I wasn’t sure if I could this time. I could smell home…I knew it wasn’t far away.

But after seeing the posters my humans put up he realized that I was loved and that’s when he contacted my dad. And I can’t even explain how happy I was when my dad came to get me. I think I even did a doggie happy dance!

I am home now, with my family. I’m wearing my GPS collar and my dad said he won’t use the yard stake again. Yay, they are going to keep me safe! Safe. I hope that lady at the shelter who was so worried about me knows how loved I am.”

Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” I can appreciate that greatly. I know that through compassion, persistence, hope, endurance, and love that I can master fear. One day I will live up to my name and become the champion of my own darkness.


When asked why they have chosen to stick with Nigel despite his anxiety, his parents say that it’s because he is a sweet, gentle dog who so very much wants to enjoy life. Sometimes his anxiety holds him back from enjoying life, just as it holds back many humans, but they want to help him embrace life as much as possible.

Blog posts are written by AACC volunteer, Stephanie
Edited by AACC staff.


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