By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

A new member of the family

Before Luke could move into his new home with the Duyck family, Anoki had to give her approval.

Anoki, a 5-year-old chocolate lab, is selective about her canine companions. But when she visited Luke in his temporary quarters at Homeward Bound Pets, she thought he was just fine.

That was a big relief to Beckie and Dan Duyck and their children, Jesse, 18, and Zoe, 15. The Amity family was already smitten by the friendly, 1-year-old Australian Shepherd/hound mix with two blue eyes.

Wanting to give a home to a dog in need, they had been watching adoption websites.

“When Luke’s picture popped up, I just fell in love with him,” Beckie Duyck said.

“He had this goofy look on his face. He looked like he’d be a real character. He looked like a character who’d fit in with our family quite well.”

Anoki’s equally positive reaction meant the family could go forward with the adoption. Once Charlie Bay of Homeward Bound Pets visited their house and gave his approval, too, the Duycks brought Luke home.

Luke, adopted Dec. 18, was the 300th animal to find a permanent home through Homeward Bound Pets in 2013.

Staff members and volunteers celebrated reaching their 300-pet goal — then celebrated again at year’s end, when the grand total had reached 327, including 42 dogs and 285 cats.

The annual number of adoptions has more than tripled since 2010, said Dawn Vyette Witt, who joined Homeward Bound late that year. The no-kill shelter program placed 98 animals that year, about 165 in 2011 and nearly 200 in 2012.

As 2014 began, Homeward Bound had about 86 cats and six dogs in its shelter, awaiting adoption.

Another three dozen cats were waiting for places in the shelter. Homeward Bound maintains a waiting list of people who need to get rid of litters of kittens, strays or no longer wanted pets.

Witt said the private nonprofit can take in found cats, if it has room. It doesn’t accept stray dogs, though. By law, those must go to the Yamhill County Dog Control facility at the fairgrounds.

The county-run dog control is the licensing agency for dogs.

“They know the history of a lot of dogs,” Witt said. “They have a better grasp of where they’re from and can help them get back to their owners.”

Dogs at Homeward Bound usually are pets that have been surrendered by their owners, she said. The owners may no longer be able to keep a pet in their residence, or may have to give it up for economic or health reasons. The shelter received, and adopted out, a pair of German shepherds after the dogs’ owner died, for instance.

In Luke’s case, his owner lost her house in a fire. She was unable to keep him in her new living quarters, Witt said.

Most dogs surrendered to Homeward Bound are adopted fairly quickly. Luke was there only a week, which is typical.

People who come to the shelter are often looking for smaller dogs as companion animals, though.

“The big ones are harder to adopt out,” Witt said. “More people want lap dogs.”

The Duycks were an exception. They wanted another big dog.

Luke was just right, standing about the same height at Anoki, though the lab is sturdier.

Luke also fit right in as a companion for Jesse, who had been wanting his own dog for a couple years now, his mom said.

Jesse had been looking at puppies as well as adult dogs, but hadn’t found the right fit until Luke came along. They bonded immediately.

As for the family cats, they didn’t say much, one way or the other, about Luke’s arrival. But Boo, once the pet in charge of the household, may have looked at it as adding insult to injury.

First the big black dog arrived. Then the Duycks went to Homeward Bound to adopt Arthur, a young tomcat, as her companion. Now they’d brought home another dog.

“She’s still a snob,” Beckie Duyck said.

Anoki feels differently about the sweet, gentle shepherd-mix.

“Now she tears around the house playing with Luke,” Duyck said. “He’s brought out a different side in her.”

Luke loves to play and is happy in his new home. He has his own bed and dish and a nice bone to chew. He likes looking out the window at the passing deer.

Next summer, he’ll get to go camping with his new family. Right now, he’s still a little nervous about riding in the car, but he’ll get used to it.

That’s important, Duyck said, noting, “Our dogs go everywhere we go.”

Starla Pointer, who is convinced everyone has an interesting story to tell, has been writing the weekly “Stopping By” column since 1996. She’s always looking for suggestions. Contact her at 503-687-1263 or

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