Pet Adoption Stories: Meet Allison and Grace Kelly

Pet Adoption Stories: Meet Allison and Grace Kelly

Learn more about Allison and her story of adopting her dog, Grace Kelly.

Here at Texas Alliance for Homeless Pets, nothing makes us happier than connecting a homeless pet with a forever home! The joy in both the pet and their future owners face when they leave the shelter together is, by far, one of the best things about our job.

To share just how amazing and unforgettable these moments can be, we are beginning a new Pet Adoption Stories series on our blog that tells the tale of local homeless pets who found a happily ever after home right here in Dallas. Today, meet Allison Collister, who adopted her dog Gracie in 2009!

What is your pet’s name and what kind of pet are they? When did you adopt them?

My dog’s name is Grace Kelly, but I usually call her Gracie. She is a catahoula mix with probably several other breeds. I’m not entirely certain what the breed mixes include, but I’m not too concerned. To me, she is just a big mix of cuteness!

I adopted her in May 2009 from Coppell Humane Society, who had pulled her from Dallas Animal Services. CHS is an all-volunteer foster and rescue group.

Why did you decide to adopt from a shelter?

Adopting from a shelter/rescue group was the only choice for me. Knowing the overpopulation and shelter euthanasia problems in the country- adopting was my only choice. 

Tell us about the moment when you realized your pet was the one for you (your pet soul mate moment):

I had been searching for a dog off and on for about 1 year. I grew up with dogs and have always loved having a canine companion. I didn’t have a specific breed mix or age in mind – but I knew that I liked medium to large sized dogs. I had visited a few other dogs in shelters and searched, but had yet to have that soul mate moment. The very first time I laid eyes on Gracie, I knew we were a perfect fit!

I met her at a CHS adoption event at Petsmart in Lewisville, Texas. My mom was in town visiting me from Tampa, Florida. I get my love of dogs from my mom, so she wasn’t surprised when we ended up in Petsmart “just to look.” I walked past a few crates and said hello to the volunteers. As I got closer to Tatum’s (Gracie’s original name) crate, she stood up and put one paw on the crate door, and looked up at me with her big brown eyes and pink nose. My heart instantly melted. It was that quintessential “save me! You’re my person and I’m your dog!!” moment. I asked the volunteers if I could meet her outside of the crate and they were more than happy to introduce us. 

I took her for a short walk outside and got the chance to sit with her for a while. I noticed immediately how curious and inquisitive she was. I stayed at Petsmart until CHS packed up and was getting ready to leave. “Tatum’s” foster family came to pick her up and bring her back to their home – and I could barely let her out of my arms! I took home an application and filled it out that evening. I spent the next few days shopping for essentials to welcome home my new family member and waiting to hear back from CHS that my application had been approved. The following weekend, I visited them at an adoption event at a parade in Coppell. I arrived while the volunteers were still setting up (I was so anxious!) and immediately took Gracie for a walk. She was wearing an “adopt me” bandanna, and other event goers kept ohh-ing and ahh-ing and asking me if she was for adoption. I so quickly responded with a “No! She’s mine!” response! I completed my paperwork with CHS and took her home from the parade that day!

Every second I spent with Gracie during the adoption process confirmed that she was the one for me. I’m so glad I spent the time getting to know her at two adoption events and also took a few days in between to confirm that she was the right fit for me! I could tell that she was spunky, energetic, and very inquisitive – just what I was looking for! And she was just the cutest dog with the cutest markings, which certainly helped! 

How was your experience adopting from a shelter? (Feel free to include the name of the shelter you adopted from.)

I adopted my dog from the Coppell Humane Society, who had pulled her from Dallas Animal Services. She was found alone by an animal control officer in south Dallas around 5 weeks old. DAS knew she needed special care because she was so young and contacted rescue groups. CHS stepped up to rescue and foster her. She was diagnosed with parvo as a young puppy without her mother’s care. CHS continued to care for her until she was medically cleared and available for adoption. And then I met her at the very first adoption event she attended at a Petsmart in Lewisville!

I’m so very thankful for everyone involved in the rescue of Gracie. The first day I met her at Petsmart, she weighed 11 pounds. She now is a healthy and happy 5 year old weighing in around 50 pounds. She makes me laugh every single day with her spunky and playful attitude. The experience adopting from CHS was fantastic. I appreciated all of the time and information the volunteers shared with me regarding her personality and history. I also appreciated the time they took to consider my application and ensure I was a suitable home for Gracie. As anxious as I was to get Gracie home, I completely understand, respect, and am very thankful for the time rescue groups and shelters put in to ensure dogs go to a home that is a good fit.  

What were the first few weeks like after you brought your pet home for the first time? Any fun stories?

I remember having some serious worries the day after I adopted Gracie. I had made a promise to save and better her life, and I took that promise VERY seriously. I wanted to make sure that I made choices that helped better both of our lives. I did the math and realized this dog was going to be by my side during some very serious and momentous life changes. She was with me when I graduated from graduate school at UNT, and she will be with me when I get married and start having children. That’s a serious commitment and I wanted to be as best prepared as I possibly could be!

The first few weeks with Gracie were great! We visited the dog park every day. I learned she only liked toys that had squeakers in them. We started practicing and learning fetch. After all of our play time, she would fall asleep on her back with all four legs in the air – what I refer to as the ‘cockroach position.’  I learned she was afraid of bicycles and balloons (we’ve since worked through that). I slowly got her acclimated to taking trips with me to dog-friendly restaurants.   

What are some of your pet’s favorite things to do?

Gracie loves every toy with a squeaker. The louder the squeaker is, the more she loves it! She loves to swim. She attends day camp at Camp Bow Wow and loves to play there. She loves to go to the dog park, especially Mutts Cantina. 

What would you tell someone who was nervous about adopting a shelter pet? Any advice?

Pets end up in shelters for numerous reasons, and many times its at no fault of their own. Shelter staff and rescue group volunteers always have the best interest in placing a pet in a home that is a right fit, because they don’t want the pet to end up in an unsuitable situation. The more time you can spend with a shelter pet getting to know him/her, and the more time you can spend talking with those who have spent time with him/her, the better you will understand the pet’s history and personality and will be able to decide if he/she is a right fit for you. 

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