It’s time to meet your pick for the FurKid Rescue 2018 pet calendar cover winner, Oakley! At just a little over a year old, Oakley has earned herself quite the recognition in a variety of community service-based activities, ranging from an important role as a search and rescue (SAR) air scent K9 with the Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group (AMRG) K9 Unit to therapy dog with Therapets and Pet Friends at Children’s Hospital. And now…well, this lovely lady can add calendar cover model to her resume too!
Oakley’s mom Jackie entered her early on in this year’s calendar contest and campaigned her way to raise $410 for FurKid Rescue. Despite a tight race to the top of the leaderboard, it was Oakley’s beautiful entry photo and community-centered, selfless story that ultimately catapulted her to first place.
“After losing my previous border collie, I knew I wanted another, but this time specifically for search & rescue,” explains Jackie. “I found several border collie rescues and applied for several; however, because we did not have a fenced in yard [and because] I work full-time, rescues would not approve me. I am a big believer in adopting…but I truly wanted a border collie.”
So when Jackie saw some puppies listed at a Ohio breeder, she stopped in where she met a litter of six. While all the males ignored her, it was the one remaining available female who expressed an interest in her.
“She kept wanting me to hold her,” Jackie recalls. “I did my checks to see if she’d fit the job for search and rescue–which she did–but then I left as I still had one more rescue I was waiting to hear back from. As I drove away, the little female jumped up on the fence, watching me leave then ran the fence following my car to the end of the property, as if to say, ‘Why did you leave me here?'”
Jackie cried the next few days, fighting with herself about purchasing a puppy over rescuing one yet feeling she had such a connection with the little female puppy she had met.
“I was so nervous somebody else would get her before I would figure things out. My husband therefore made the decision and bought her for my birthday, and Oakley came to be mine.”
As a volunteer with the AMRG K9 Unit, Jackie and Oakley started SAR training quite quickly with the group as socialization is just as important with the team. Together they earned their Canine Good Citizen and certified for therapy dog work within area hospitals, nursing homes, and colleges.
When Oakley was voted the cover winner of the FurKid Rescue 2018 pet calendar, it was important for Jackie to share Oakley and showcase the unsung heroes of SAR dogs and therapy dogs in the Pittsburgh area to the community. We choose the North Shore for her session with its iconic views of the city and bridges. Jackie brought along Oakley’s SAR vest because it is a big part of what her job is and what she is for Pittsburgh.
“[Oakley] loves everybody she meets: old, young, any age! She always brings a smile to those she is there to comfort. I am very proud of her and glad she chose me.”
Next on the agenda is for Oakley to certify as an air scent wilderness search dog to be fully active within the AMRG search organization. They will be traveling to New York to do so. I wish both Jackie and Oakley good luck as they take this next step!
It’s worth noting, in addition to Jackie’s involvement with the AMRG, she is also the founder of Dreaming of Three, “a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to charitable fund raising through our passion of horses and rodeo.” The funds raised through this organization benefit the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, St. Judes Children’s Hospital, and several animal rescues. Jackie’s Rodeo Kids Program also provides children fighting cancer or heart disease and their families the opportunity to attend local rodeos. You can learn more about Dreaming of Three by visiting www.dreamingofthree.org and on Facebook.
If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “Your Session” in the menu.