Featured Pet: Bootz

Originally from Texas, Bootz resided at a shelter until she was adopted out to a couple in Connecticut when she was 2 years old. The couple had small dogs and they were seeking another dog when they came across Bootz and had her transported to New England to begin her new life. They were told that Bootz was social with dogs, however it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t the case when she arrived to her new home. Living up to the “Don’t mess with Texas” saying, Bootz was not keen on the small dogs in the home and the household needed to be separated to keep everyone safe. Bootz spent most of her time outside, similar to how she lived at the shelter in Texas, running around, sniffing all the interesting smells, and even independently playing with her toys. The couple spent the next three months trying to work on the dogs’ relationships, but Bootz just didn’t like the idea on sharing her space with another dog. The couple was unable to bring Bootz back to Texas, therefore they did some research and came across Our Companions.

When we met with Bootz, a Lab/Shepherd mix, we learned that she wasn’t really integrated into the home and continued to spend most of her time outside in the yard, away from the other dogs. It was a temporary situation that wasn’t sustainable for everyone involved, especially as the days got colder, and we decided to welcome Bootz to our Sanctuary in January of 2022. It was quite clear upon her arrival that Bootz had a strong distaste for dogs; even the smell of them outside would set her off and she would bark. Bootz also didn’t have the greatest leash skills and would get frustrated being in a harness. She would try to pull a “Houdini” and attempt to slip out of her harness during her walks. Who could blame her when she spent most of her life running free outside, doing what she pleased? Given that she didn’t have much experience with living inside a household, Bootz also had no house manners. She didn’t know what to do in the house or how to settle down and relax. She was confused, bored, and just wanted to be outside. And despite all of the running she loved to do, Bootz was actually quite overweight at about 90lbs. Recognizing all of these challenges, we’re so grateful that Bootz was exactly where she needed to be to thrive- at our Ashford Sanctuary with our experienced Dog Team.

Our staff immediately got to work with  Bootz’s training and ensuring she received plenty of exercise to help burn off her energy. Thankfully, we have many fenced-in play yards for Bootz to receive her off-leash time running around, feeling the wind in her fur and going wherever she pleased. They practiced lots of reward-based focus skills to help keep her attention on them, instead of seeking out dogs to react to and bark at. These type of training exercises not only helps with encouraging Bootz to be less reactive around other dogs, but it also helps build and strengthen her relationships with her human friends. Combined with her food-loving Lab half and her eagerness to learn on the Shepherd half, Bootz absolutely loved all the training her friends would do with her! She enjoyed learning new skills, having fun with her friends, and obviously eating delicious treats! To help with her sensitivity to nail trims, staff started training her with a filing her own nails on a scratchboard! Bootz quickly got the hang of it and loved showing off what she could do! Who would’ve thought trimming your dog’s nails would be so fun for everyone?!

One of Bootz’s caregivers, Toni, even started a new program to help Bootz lose weight called Bootz Camp! To help keep her occupied in the canine cottages, Bootz was given enrichment activities and puzzles to give her mind and body a great challenge when she didn’t know how to settle down inside. One of her favorite activities is working on busy boxes, where she can sniff out delicious treats, rip apart boxes, and overall have fun! The Dog Team even formulated a step-by-step way to help Bootz get more comfortable putting on a harness and it has worked so well to alleviate pressure on both Bootz and staff. Being consistent with putting on her harness, Bootz knows exactly what to expect, trusts staff, and feels more comfortable with it on. Given her Shepherd coat, brushing was another tool that Bootz had to learn to get comfortable with. Thanks to one of her caregivers, Alyssa, Bootz absolutely adores being brushed and pampered on! Her fur is oh so soft and shiny, just adding to her adorable face and fit figure!

As time went on, and with lots of patience and consistency, Bootz has transformed during her time with us. She started to walk great on leash, have minimal reaction to other dogs, and even started to relax in the house! She started showing her friends a whole new side of Bootz- a cuddle bug! Don’t be confused, she is still a wild child at heart! Yet now she has allowed herself to change for the better and welcome that change with an open mind, thanks to the love and safety she found with us. She is the sweetest, silliest adventure buddy that just wants a person she can bond with and have fun with.

Now at 4 years old, Bootz is at such a wonderful point in her life and our wish is to now have her continue this great chapter in a home and family of her very own. As you’re aware, she would absolutely need a home where she is the only pet with a fenced-in yard. Having the time to be off-leash helps feed her free spirit, making her a very happy girl. It would be best if Bootz could reside in a rural area with adults or older teens in the home to limit any stressors outside. Bootz would also love nothing more than someone that can continue her training and will learn all that she knows! She has many things she’d love to show you, and looks forward to all the things you’d love for her to learn too! With just one goofy look of her face, there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with this spunky, silly girl! She will be sure to brighten any day and be up for any adventure! If interested in seeing if Bootz is the gal for you, you can learn more by contacting our Helpline at 860-242-9999 or email [email protected]!


  1. Shirley Murtha on October 18, 2023 at 10:42 am

    What an amazing job your team has done with this girl!