What a rescued dog can do...

We found this in the Evansville Courier Press this morning and just had to share it...just goes (again) to show you just how much a rescue dog can do.

Rescued pet makes most of life by being a friend to everyone she meets

By Rich Davis
Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sue Schriber recalls her introduction to Myah.

Rehearsal had begun for Civic Theatre's "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and the band — which included off-duty Evansville police detective Jim Allison, a bass guitar and tuba player — was walking in from the alley.

With no tuba lessons on the books this Tuesday evening, Jim Allison has time to spend with Myah in his West Side home. Allison makes sure Myah gets her fair share of treats.

With no tuba lessons on the books this Tuesday evening, Jim Allison has time to spend with Myah in his West Side home. Allison makes sure Myah gets her fair share of treats.

Schriber, a veteran community actor, figured it must be one of those stray mutts who's never met a stranger: "Then Jim said, 'This is Myah. She always comes to rehearsals.' Myah walked on stage, lay under the piano and watched. The minute the director said, 'Let's take a break,' Myah was all over the stage, so energetic. The cast was petting her and talking to her."

During performances Myah waited in the van, but the cast would go outside to greet her.

"She's truly a character. You miss her when she's not around," says Schriber.

Everybody who knows Allison seems to have met or heard about Myah the moosedog. She visits schools and nursing homes, attends church at Crossroads Christian, shows up at concerts, travels to music conferences with her "Dad," and is tethered beneath a bench outside Bob Evans when Allison has breakfast.

They're a team, even if she's not a police dog. She's a Norwegian elkhound whose dark tongue and dislike of baths suggests some Chow DNA, too.

She likes to roll in the snow, play with squeaky toys and peer at fast-food drive-up windows almost as much as she enjoys meeting new people.

"She's my surrogate child. I don't mind saying that," Allison observes while taking Myah to the veterinarian for a teeth cleaning. "I include her in things more for her benefit than mine, so her perception of the world and life is as rich as it can be.

"I've had her since Oct. 15, 2005. Dr. (Brent) Branson says she's 6, maybe 7. I'm hoping 6, which gives us a little more time together."

Myah is lucky to be alive, based on her pieced-together past.

She was with her original owner the day the man, despondent over the breakup of his marriage, jumped to his death at an Illinois construction site.

Sydney Smith, a volunteer with a Moosedog Rescue group, heard about Myah through a Web site tracking elkhounds facing euthanasia. Myah's 60-day stay at an Illinois shelter was expiring.

Smith, a paralegal then living in Owensboro, Ky., learned Myah had sat beside her owner's body and cried, then refused to budge from his truck. At the shelter she rarely ate.

Smith and her fiance, Nick Hirsch, and his sister, Kalah Hirsch, brought Myah to live with them in Owensboro, caring for her even as Kentuckiana Animal Hospital veterinarians rated her survival chances at 10 percent. She had a serious infection and tested positive for heartworm.

The friends nursed her to health, and Smith says it wasn't long before they realized Myah "will always be happy as long as she believes she is pleasing whoever is guiding her."

Later, Myah needed a "forever" home. Smith's new job was taking her to Florida, the Army was sending Nick Hirsch to South Korea, and his sister also was moving.

Nick and Kalah's mother, Kathleen Harris, is an Evansville police officer. "I took a beautiful picture of Myah and put it on the board at the Civic Center," Harris recalls.

Allison expressed interest, but Harris thought the dog was "awful furry" for the neat and orderly detective. "But that didn't bother Jim at all," she says, laughing. "The first time Myah saw Jim, she sat at his feet and leaned her head against his knee."

"She's a special dog — compliant," the 54-year-old Allison says with a grin, using police-speak to describe how Myah was "bonded out" of the shelter. "What a shame it would have been, what a loss, if she had been put down."

He says elkhounds need exercise and mental stimulation, so he involves her in activities. But it's Myah who initiates the contact with people.

"I don't have to say 'Come talk to this lady in a wheelchair' at nursing homes," says Allison, a bachelor. "She goes up to them without prompting."

She also likes the automatic doors at the Solarbron Pointe retirement community, aware she can romp through them at full throttle.

One day at Crossroads on the East Side she reached out to Rick Huffman, whose wife, Claudia, was killed in a 2006 motorcycle accident.

"I was kind of having a rough time and Myah picked up on it," recalls Huffman, 52. "It was during a church orchestra rehearsal and I was thinking of Claudia, who played the flute."

Myah came up from behind, nuzzled his elbow and made him smile.

"All of us have something to learn from her," says Linda Bernhardt, a Crossroads employee. "She doesn't have a problem going up to anyone to share her love and joy."

On West Franklin Street, the "No Pets" sign on the door of The Haircut doesn't apply to Myah, who lies on a rug waiting to greet customers while Allison gets a trim.

"Myah is like a person, she really is," observes shop owner Kathy Godeke-Diehl, recounting the Halloween when Allison dressed Myah as Dogzilla to please a group of preschoolers.

"If Jim is wearing his uniform, customers think Myah's a police dog," says Godeke-Diehl. "But I tell them, 'No, no, she's more like his best friend, his companion.'"

At home on Evansville's outskirts Myah can prowl some woods, maybe spot a squirrel or deer. She wears an electronic leash with a transmitter. One push of a button by Allison beeps her home.

Although he won't let her ride in his 2004 GTO, "my midlife toy," Allison has been known on occasion to take her to Wendy's or Arby's for a sandwich.

"I don't think she can read," Allison jokes, "but when she sees the message board she knows what's next. There's that board and 'Dad talks to someone I can't see,' and we drive around to this window and not only is there free food, but someone who likes her."

If your group is interested in meeting Myah, write to Jim Allison, P.O. Box 874, Evansville, Ind. 47705.