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Love Stories

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Next weekend might be the perfect time to find a perfect companion. It might be exactly the right time to find the exactly right pet love of your life. Or, it just could be lots of fun, meeting people, meeting cats and dogs, watching a fashion show or a grooming session or a lesson on training.

WHAT: New Mexico’s biggest pet adoption event
WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 10  a.m. to 5  p.m.
Sunday, April 22, 9  a.m. to 4  p.m.
WHERE: 7777 Jefferson NE
HOW MUCH: Free; adoption fees vary

Whether you’re looking for a pet to adopt, or just looking, Fetch-apalooza has plenty for anyone who loves companion animals. Most of all, it has the ability to change lives.

Here are a few of the stories of changed lives, of perfect companions, and the exactly right pet loves found at Fetch-apalooza.

My husband and I did not attend last year’s Fetch-apalooza with the intent of adopting a new pet, even though we had recently lost our last rescue dog to bone cancer and even though our current rescue pet seemed to be missing a companion. No, we had gone as local volunteers to help out the Española Valley Humane Society.

Upon arrival, however, we noticed an adorable, but emaciated, American pit bull terrier and there was an immediate tug on our heartstrings.

After spending the day with him, taking turns walking him around the event area wearing his little “adopt me” vest, we began to form an attachment. During the entire day he stayed calm and handled all the noise, strangers and other dogs. By the end of the day, when no one had shown any interest in adopting him, we had made up our minds and the very next day brought our female (Sadie) for a meet and greet. It was an immediate success, and our newly named Hatch became a member of our family.

Being well aware of the bad reputation pit bulls have, due to bad owners and media hype, we set out to make Hatch an ambassador for his breed. His first step was a basic obedience class, at which he shined. We followed that with a class and an AKC administered exam to obtain his CGC (Canine Good Citizenship) certification. Hatch passed all phases of the test, making us proud and changing some breed-specific attitudes along the way.

Thank you, Fetch-apalooza, for making this possible.
— Sandra DaPrato

I found our girl Teddie at last year’s Fetch-apalooza. It was love at first sight, of course.

The folks who brought her up from the Las Cruces-area shelter said she is a soft-coated wheaten terrier. Not certain about that, but she certainly does have some terrier in her. And, with her propensity to dig, I call her a “terrierist!”

She is ridiculous cute, very smart, inquisitive, good-natured and gentle with our 15-year-old rescue, T.C. And, she loves going to doggy day care when we can’t bring the pups along on vacation. She can run and jump with her canine pals since T.C. is too old for all that nonsense.

Teddie is our fourth rescue, but the first from Fetch-apolooza. Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for hosting this wonderful adoption event.
— Diana Stauffer

How do I begin a story that has turned to be so wonderful? Her name is Sophia, and we adopted her from Fetch-apalooza about two years ago. I had lost my little Shih Tzu at Thanksgiving and I wanted to buy another dog, so I gave myself some time to think about what kind of dog I would like to get. One day when I was reading the paper I came across dog adoption, and I said to myself, OK, I need to help. These are dogs that don’t have homes. And there it was in the paper, adopt a dog, give a dog a good home, and I saw that Fetch-apalooza was having an adoption on dogs. So I got up early in the morning with my kids, me thinking I was going to get a small dog, that was my intention. Walking around and around like so many do, pick up one — no, that was not what I wanted. Picked up another, but still looking. And then there she was, all by herself in the kennel.

I kept watching her and nobody would pick her up because she was big and her face was so sad. I told my son, let’s look at this one. She would be a good running dog. My son Ryan said, I thought you wanted a small dog, and I said, I know, but look at her — that is the sweetest face I have ever seen.

We picked her up, took her for a walk on a leash, and the next thing you know, she was coming home with us.

My son Ryan and daughter Stephanie named her Sophia. We love her so much, she is the love of our lives, we can’t imagine our life without her. And let me tell you, she is so spoiled that anything she wants, she gets.

If anybody is looking for a dog to love and give a good home, try adopting. They make a great pet and Fetch-apalooza has a lot to choose from.
— Julie Garcia

I attended the Fetch-apalooza event last year in hopes of finding my companion.

The first day I attended, I was attracted to the Breeder Release Adoption Service booth because they had a book of the rescued small dogs that were available. And then I heard their story, of rescuing the dogs from the hands of puppy mill breeders. I knew that if I were to adopt, I wanted to rescue a puppy mill dog. After looking round for that perfect small dog, I was sad as I left with no dog in tow.

On the last day of the event, I made a last-minute decision to stop by Fetch-a-palooza one last time, just in case there happened to be a new selection. I returned to the BRAS booth on the second day and saw my dream dog — a Yorkshire terrier. It wasn’t until a couple came by, swooped up the Yorkie from her playpen and held her up in the air when I saw her scared eyes peering down on them. It was then that I knew she had to be mine. I didn’t want to see the frail, nervous dog go home with anyone but me.

It was a rash decision, but I immediately asked to fill out the paperwork for my very first rescue dog adoption. The ladies who helped me were phenomenal; they even delivered my new dog to me. The woman who brought my Maggie to my home helped me to get an idea of what Maggie’s background was and what to expect in terms of training her.

The moment she left, I was so concerned because Maggie was scared of me. She didn’t want to eat, she wouldn’t come to me, and she was terrified of me walking toward her. I thought I made the wrong decision about adopting.

The first week together was trying, as her fear and nerves made for a difficult adjustment. She didn’t know what being outside of a cage looked like. She didn’t know the comfort of an owner. She didn’t know what it was to be loved.

Luckily, the following week was the start of my summer vacation, so I was able to devote innumerous hours with Maggie. We visited parks, we took road trips together, we took naps in the sun, we tested out food, and we even spent lots of time with her cousins (three other dogs). Soon, Maggie grew out of her shell.

Now, a year later, I can’t imagine the horrible life Maggie had for seven years prior to finding her “mama.” She’s a happy, excited, loving dog that is still learning how to trust others. She is excited when I come home after a long day at work, she loves taking walks, she enjoys running laps in our backyard, she loves treats, she loves car rides, and she loves to mingle with other dogs.

As for the two of us, I think we are each other’s perfect match. I am so thankful for BRAS, Fetch-apalooza, and the couple Maggie did not like, because Maggie and I now have one inseparable bond.
— DeAnna Gonzales

In October 2009, our beloved dog, Bear, unexpectedly died. One day he developed a dry cough and 15 days later he passed from congestive heart failure. We were so devastated. Bear, a shepherd-Rottweiler mix, had been a member of our family since June 1999. Our daughter, Maureen, had brought him home as a puppy. We all grieved deeply at his passing, which left a void in our home and in our hearts.

In April 2010, I saw an article in the Albuquerque Journal about an event called Fetch-apalooza (love the name!) and we talked about going to it “just to look.” We were starting to think about bringing a new puppy into our lives.

When we arrived, I felt overwhelmed and started to cry. I wanted to adopt all of them! Yet a part of me felt disloyal to Bear’s memory, as though I were trying to replace him. But truly his legacy was that I couldn’t imagine not having a dog in our lives. I had become a “dog lover.”

We walked around and my husband, Ernie, had to make the decision; I just could not. He picked out a female Rottweiler mix from Española. She was one of a litter that had been left at the shelter at 3 weeks of age. Since she had been fostered, she appeared to be well socialized. When Ernie set her down to sign the adoption papers, she clung to his leg as if saying “Please don’t leave me!” I chose the name Trinity for her. She curled up on my lap and slept all the way back to Belen.

Just like having a new baby, everything Trinity did was so cute that I had to take a photo! She grew and changed so quickly. She loved sleeping in a patch of sun in our bedroom and cuddling on the couch with one of us. At one point her ears began to straighten out. The left one remained floppy for a bit before eventually standing upright. Trinity helped heal our hearts and brought joy into our lives. She amused us with her puppy antics.

Now at age 2, she’s still our “puppy girl.” She has beautiful markings, though we are not sure exactly what breeds might be in her lineage. She still loves to cuddle on the couch. Once she was able to jump on our bed, at some point each night, she leaves her bed and joins us.

We discovered that she likes to be a “therapy dog” when we brought her to visit a neighbor, who had to move into an assisted-living facility. Even as a puppy, she knew she couldn’t jump up and sat quietly as she was petted.

We are so grateful that we found her (or she found us!) at Fetch-apalooza, and hope that other lucky humans find a dog of to enrich their lives also.
— Ellen Nagy

Friends of Fetch-apalooza

Here are the shelters, rescues and other animal welfare groups participating in Fetch-apalooza, as of this week:

Travelin’ Jack

Dew Paws Rescue

Hearts of Gold Rescue

New Mexico Animal Friends


Animal Service Center of New Mexico/Mesilla Valley

Greyhound Companions of New Mexico

Animal Humane New Mexico

Raton Humane Society

Santa Fe Animal Services & Humane Society

EnchantMutts Inc.

Haven for Hamsters

High Desert Cat Rescue

Albuquerque Cat Action Team (ACAT)


Jemez Valley Animal Amigos

Breeder Release Adoption Services

All Ears Basset Sanctuary

New Mexico Boston Terrier Rescue

New Mexico Pets Alive

New Mexico Dogs Deserve Better

Watermelon Mountain Ranch

Fur and Feathers Rescue and Rehabilitation

4 Corners All Breed Rescue


Luvin’ Labs

McKinley County/Gallup Humane Society

Second Chance Animal Rescue

Almost Home

Valencia County Animal Control

Chama Valley Humane Society

Doberman Rescue

Animal Welfare Coalition

Wanagi Wolf Fund & Rescue

Tiny Toes Rat Rescue

Rancho de Chihuahua

Feline & Friends New Mexico

Boxer Rescue of Albuquerque

Prairie Dog Pals

City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department

— source: City of Albuquerque