The one, the only, the chubbiest, Wasabi

I never was the biggest fan of cats…. That is until I started work as an Adoption Counselor for the Animal Adoption Center in November of 2015. Each day, while cleaning Kitty City I became more and more enamored and mystified by these meowing, captivating little sass-pots!

In the winter of 2016, the AAC pulled a cat named Mama from Lucky’s Place of SV. Lucky’s named her that because, well, she was a kitten producing machine back in her unspayed days on the loose. She came with one of them, a shy fluffy black male, she a curvaceous, well proportioned, green-eyed tabby.

If you pay attention to when new cats come along, the AAC staff typically sticks to a naming theme, and Amanda must’ve been jones’ing for sushi that day, because Wasabi was selected for her and Edamame for her son.

I spent 4 mornings a week with Wasabi, she meowed, I mopped. She always seemed very content in Kitty City, never stressed. She was the type of cat who let you hold her like a baby and would gently place her paws on your cheeks to bring you closer to her mother. During Wasabi’s time at the center, Meowga was born, and oh my cats, did this little unicorn shine when the Meowga commenced! She felt that everyone who attended was there to strictly see her and she didn’t want anyone burning any calories during her class.

A few weeks after Wasabi’s debut as a yogi-cat she fell ill. She was separated from the other cats while on meds and staff surveillance. This is where us staff learned her love for running water. Anytime you visited her (in the bathroom) she would boss you right over to the sink to turn it on for her. My fiancé was a die-hard crazy cat man and had been campaigning around our household that we get a cat… even though he was allergic. I decided this was the chance- Wasabi was my favorite, and she needed to be quarantined from the other kitties anyways, so if it didn’t work out, she at least got to go on a field trip to get better. We took her home right as the cottonwoods came into pre-summer bloom, so needless to say Dave had a rough week. After 7 days of new cat having/ sneezing, eyes watering, meowing, bliss Dave’s allergies went away and Wasabi was there to stay!

Wasabi was what everyone’s’ first feline should be: smart and resourceful, loving, hilarious, moldable and foldable, and absolutely memorable. During the hottest week of the summer she figured out that the coffee table in front of the fan was the best for napping (while her brother laid beneath the table… simple dog). She was a force to the neighboring canines who dared to trespass on her lawn, and started each day with gratitude for the world and lapping up gallons of water from Flat Creek. We unfortunately lost Wasabi suddenly just over a year after we brought her home. Her ashes now live where she used to love to lay and stare at us while we watched TV… directly next to the TV. She opened up our hearts to having a feline family member and paved the way for another to enter our hearts and home, but none will ever fill the Sab’s sized void in our hearts.


Sky Sled Dog Baby

I started looking at shelter dogs as soon as I got my own place in Jackson (beginning of winter 2016).  A friend who had met Sky at the AAC, suggested she might be my speed, so I went in a couple days later and took her for a night.  I adopted her the next day.  There was something about the soul-penetrating blue and brown eyeballs, totally nonchalant attitude towards a -10 degree night, and the emotional connection I felt as soon as I met her.

We like all the same things (snow, activities, chips, etc.) and could not be a more perfect dog/human pairing – I feel very lucky.  She is my sled dog in the summer – pulling me around Jackson on anything with wheels – and my ski partner in the winter.  Sky is now a sponsored RexSpecs athlete because she is so pretty and fit.  She is also a perfect role model and play buddy for many foster dogs that come stay in our little apartment.

My life would be so boring without Sky Dog, and I am eternally grateful that the Animal Adoption Center exists, and that it has the best staff any place could possibly have.

Sweet Sadie

We met Sadie at the PPP in Jackson the spring of 2004. My husband was still missing our German Shepherd, Doro, who we lost in 2002. He was not looking but Sadie charmed him with her tricks and sweet nature. We kept her for a foster period but he just wasn’t ready to commit so we returned her to the ACC to await another family. That lasted about 12 hours…we went back and got her the next day, loaded her in the back of the Jeep and drove cross country. She was such a blessing in our lives for the next 13 years. We lost her to cancer, but we will return to the ACC for a new furry friend when we’re ready. Thank you for letting us be part of your family!


Ella Ella Ella! My mostly confident, mostly hound type dogs story began on some dock somewhere in Mexico, where she was picked up with her sissy and brought into a rescue.  Starved, mangy and terrified are the adjectives the rescuers have described their 4 month old pup.  She cowered in her kennel for a week and screamed every time she was touched.  After some months of  wonderful caring and meals, she would travel to the AAC with her sissy by way of Jackson volunteers that had been helping at a spay/neuter clinic on Isla Mujeres.  I met Ella after she’d been in the AAC program for a couple weeks. At this point she’d been fostered by Heather, professional foster, and a long time supporter of AAC, Dr. Emmy.  I like to foster the harder to place dogs, I have them longer, get more attached and agonize over the day they find their forever homes!  Ella had several inquiries over several months, but nothing that was the right fit. At first, she retreated to a large crate when she was nervous, and damn near everything made her nervous.  She quickly adapted to her new life though.  Walks at the feed grounds with her foster brothers in the evening, days spent with The AAC  gals and the dogs , regular meals, treats, she was a sight to behold.

Why I Foster Failed. Ella gave new meaning to long term foster! She quit slinking to the kennel, she met people at the door like a welcome wagon lady, she got over her fear of the cats,  her tail was up more than tucked between her legs.  Now, I needed another dog like I needed a hole in my head— but she was already here. Then, one day, Ella was the featured pet available for adoption.  Dr. Emmy was very sick this day, and had asked me months previous to this if I would please adopt this dog that she adored.  I  called  Jenny and Faith May, also friends of Dr. Emmy and my landlord,  for permission to bring Ella home for good. I had reached the point with Ella that she belonged with me and my GSD Sam, and the rest of the pack.  I wasn’t going to put myself or her through any more anxiety ridden moments over where her home was.  It was with me.  Dr. Emmy knew before she passed that Ella was home for good.

The only thing she loathes is the dog park!  I often forget that crowds are not her thing.  Her happy place, is  still, with her girlfriends at AAC and their dogs.  I’ve been going through chemo this year, and she often stays with Amanda and Josie.  It is my pride and joy to see her so happy. Ella is so very sensitive to every emotion with myself or the animals.  She is so very interesting , and we just love her so very much.

Cobia Jean

When I think back to the day we met our sweet girl I always smile. My boyfriend, now husband, and I had been dog shopping for months. This would be my husband‘s first pet and a huge step in our relationship.  We visited the old yellow Animal Adoption Center many times. I had seen a bunch of dogs that caught my eye, but Bryan was still warming up to the whole idea of adding another dog to our fur family.

On one of our routine visits he walked in, looked up and down the kennels, and said his usual “sit”.  This time, a very chubby black lab immediately sat, wagged her little tail and looked at us with her sweet golden eyes.  It was in that moment that she stole our hearts. We fell in love with a black dog sitting in a kennel at the AAC.  Cobia had become family in an instant.

Over the next 10 years, she made us laugh and smile so many times it’s hard to remember them all. From falling out of a drift boat in the rapids and sending it through the powder of Teton pass to nurturing and caring for our small child and letting kindergartners overcome their fear of dogs by petting her – by my account, she was the perfect dog.

Cobia, thank you for not killing youself when you got your head stuck in the chip bag or when you decided to eat and entire bag of pancake mix.  Thank you for being nice to the rabbit that lives in our yard and sharing the front seat of the car with Jake Kitty on your way to the vet.  Thank you for keeping our floors clean and for making sure no squeaky toy ever made it through the night.  While our time together was entirely too short, thank you for making our life brighter.

We love you,

The Boyntons

Double Whammy – Gunther & Pepper

It was my, Jenna (AAC Adoption Counselor), first week at work when a big, black dog got transferred from Star Valley. He hops out of the car and as I saw him through the window Though “Oh sh**.” He peered into my soul with those droopy, irresistible eyes looking for comfort during a scary time in his life and it was game over. Gunther was my dream dog. All of my friends and family called me crazy, poking fun that I didn’t even last a week at my new job before caving gin and adopting an animal.









Prior to the AAC, Gunther sat in the Star Valley shelter for a few months after him, his baby mama and all of their puppies were surrendered after their owners who were breeding them got a divorce. All of them got adopted almost immediately while Gunther sat in the kennel awaiting his forever family. Baby G fit in immediately at our household and myself and fiancé, George. It didn’t take long to decide that he was our dog and we became attached at the hip. We immediately upgraded to a King size bed because G was obviously never sleeping on the floor. Gunther is a 100 lb dog stuck in a 10 lb body, he welcomes foster dogs into his home whenever is needed and he puts a smile on everyone’s face who meets him. He is our pride and joy and we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect first dog. I often ask myself “what I did before I had Gunther?”


Then came along Pepper, aka Pep-dog, aka Peppie, aka Pepperoni, aka Baby Smush Face. Virginia and myself went to Lucky’s Place of Star Valley to pull some more dogs for the AAC. We met who we wanted and had room for one more. One of the volunteers mentioned a dog named Midnight. We had walked right by her without inquiring and I still can’t believe how we had missed her originally. We met her and immediately knew she was the one for us. At this point George and I were fostering dogs that we thought would be a good fit. It wasn’t until I brought Midnight/Kit Kat to an adoption drive and she was THE most tolerant dog I had ever met. Which says a lot comparing to Gunther. She patiently laid on the floor and let another puppy sleep on top of her the entire time. We had to foster her. After a week in we began taking name suggestions and it was game over. Pepper was her name for her fiery personality and brindle accents. She has no sense of urgency and can tree a squirrel for an entire day. Despite her being half the size of Gunther, she makes sure to protect him from anything that comes his way. We could not have asked for a better second dog to the family.


Gunther and Pepper were both witnesses at our wedding and people joke that it was actually their own wedding. I will forever be grateful for the joy the Animal Adoption Center has brought into our lives.



365 Days To Freedom ~ Hobbes

Hobbes was found as a stray in Star Valley 2 years ago, at 2 years of age. He was adopted from the Animal Adoption Center but was brought back some months later, as he developed a sensitivity to being around other dogs. He was back at the Center for some months, getting lots of love from the staff at the AAC.

Enter the summer of 2018, when my 15 year old and I were having lunch close by, and saw a dog being walked with the “Adopt Me” vest. We have never had a dog (but have 3 grown kids) and she had always loved dogs.  That said, my wife and I had no intention of getting a dog at this stage of our lives. We went on a field trip to the Animal Adoption Center and I told her we can foster a dog for a night, which helps bring a shelter dog some time in a home and she can see if she wants a dog when she is 18. Well, the first dog she reached in to pet was Hobbes and he lay his head into her hand, and she was hooked. We took him home and he was so well behaved in the house and so sweet with us. We brought him back the next day and we exclaimed “Why doesn’t this dog have a home?” The staff told us it is more challenging to have a dog in this area if they do not like being around other dogs, which is understandable. When the rest of the family came to Jackson, we fostered him two more times, and bonded with him. When he enthusiastically greeted the 5 of us for the first time, my wife started to cry and a connection was formed.

Due to allergy issues one of us was having, we could not make the decision to adopt right away until we figured out a solution. When we contacted the AAC to advise we were ready to start the process, he was being fostered at a family considering to adopt him, and our hearts sank. We were deeply disappointed but were happy that he could be finding a home after such a long ordeal. Thankfully he was not a good fit with that family’s lifestyle and we were told he would be ours. We took him home after the summer (we live full time in Canada) and had lots of assistance and help getting him here from the whole staff. We even had a long conversation with Eva, the trainer who works with the dogs at the AAC, and she gave us lots of his history and how she was currently working with him.

Hobbes is now loving life in Toronto, and we are loving him. It took a few months for him to be 100% himself, but he was at ease right from the start. We had a few mishaps at the beginning, like finding out he ate 13 Oatmeal raisin cookies overnight, which bought him a trip to the vet, and a missing pizza placed too low for his reach. He walks in our neighborhood but we try to keep him from other dogs and he plays for hours in the fenced backyard chasing tennis balls. He is super calm when around dozens of people and gentle with toddlers. He will run up and nuzzle into any extended family member walking through the door, but when my mother in law comes in with her walker, he sits next to her and waits patiently for a pet and then he gently nuzzles her. She has never been around dogs and was afraid of them, but as she says, she can’t stop thinking about Hobbes when she is not here.

The first few months were a learning experience for all of us, and it wasn’t easy. Making accommodations so he is not around other dogs takes a little planning and he may miss out going to certain places, but we are sure he is so happy to be with us. He is so good, so sweet  intuitive and is such a warm and loving part of our family that we can’t imagine life without him now. He has had a tough life, getting left by one family and given up by another, yet he is so loving and trusting. We are fortunate my daughter chose him and that he chose us. Hobbes was in the AAC program for exactly 365 days when he got in a car to travel to his new home in Canada. Thank you Jenna, Amanda,Virginia, Carrie and Eva!


Ramone the Punk-Rock Chiweenie

“There’s no way we’re fostering him, he almost took my face off!”

Amy had been stalking the AAC site for months.  The Furry Friday emails were literally the only reason she checked her account.  Numerous times per day I’d receive text messages with screen shots of dogs and the standard question, “what do you think about this guy?”

We’d been talking about getting a dog for a while and were at the point we were seriously looking.  Amy had always had dogs growing up.  For her, it was time to restore that energy to the house.  I hadn’t grown up with dogs, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but was excited for this new chapter.

There he was!  I’d received many images of different dogs over the past few months, but the way Amy reacted to the photos of Nacho made me think this might be the guy.  We decided to swing by the AAC to meet him.  He was nervous to say the least.

Carrie and the girls at the AAC told us he’d come from Idaho Falls and had had quite a rough few weeks.  He was scared and hesitant around us.  Rightfully so after having been adopted and returned to the AAC not once, but twice.  I was warming up to the little guy and that’s when it happened… he lunged at Amy’s face and almost got her.  We brushed it off, but left with mixed emotions about the fiery little Nacho.

Soon after leaving, the AAC called and asked if we’d foster him for the weekend.  After some serious deliberation (hence the “…almost took my face off” quote) we mustered up the courage to spend three nights in the same house with all 8 pounds of this spirited little chiweenie.

After an exciting initial three days we were in love and made the commitment to be his forever home.  First things first… new name.  Nacho quickly became Ramone the Punk-Rock Chiweenie and we began truly getting to know each other better.

Times were a little challenging at first.  It took Ramone a few weeks to get comfortable with his new humans and really settle in.  He was quite defensive and a little aggressive, but with some patience, a little love, and LOTS of treats he has transformed into the sweetest little guy with a huge personality.  We are actually amazed at how social and friendly he has become.

Ramone loves camping and treats and naps and laps and treats and bike rides and skateboarding and treats and hikes and road trips and high fives and is even starting to dig paddle boarding.   He’s an equal opportunity lover who visits the lap of everyone who enters our home. He’s fast as hell and probably doesn’t realize that his happy bark sounds a lot like his angry bark. Just don’t try to pick him up if you’re not already one of his homies. That doesn’t really fly with Ramone, but can you blame him?  I don’t like strangers picking me up either.

Ramone has been an absolutely amazing addition to our family and, as with all of us, is a beautiful work in progress.  We are so grateful to the AAC for helping us find him and for all the work they put into connecting these incredible animals with their forever homes.

-Jeff Moran with Amy Glenn & Ramone the Punk-Rock Chiweenie



I (Erin) and my husband Mike had been traveling around the country in our skoolie. We were in the Jackson Hole area when we decided it was time to add another passenger to the FreeRoamingBus. Since we had our skoolie parked up in the mountains, we drove to the Animal Adoption Center on our motorcycle to “just look” at the kittens they had. Well, you know how that goes… I quickly fell in love with a cuddly orange tabby then named Odin. Now we had to figure out how to get him back to our bus.

A few hours later we arrived back at the AAC to pick up our newly named Hank in a U-Haul truck (the cheapest way to rent a car in peak summer season). Everyone had a few good laughs at the length we went to get our boy home.

Hank took to the bus quickly and had quite a few adventures in his first three months with us. We’re now out of the bus and into a home, but we still get out for small adventures here and there. Hank’s favorite activities are cuddling, hiking, visiting the birds and mice at Petco, and his all time favorite, climbing trees. He is full of personality and is always causing mischief.

We are so thankful that we found the Animal Adoption Center and our little fur ball!

If you would like, you can follow Hank on Instagram @adventuresofhankrobbie

Patches to Giblet


Patches came to us with no pants, no shirt, no clothes at all. She had a patch or two of fur but we couldn’t tell what her coat would be like or if it would come back entirely at all.  She was a little shy at first(not so much inside); we think we took her on her first leashless walk.  We were on the snake river dike and she seemed unsure what to do and the water baffled and scared her a little.  That lasted all of a few days, Giblet aka gibby, immediately took to the water once she realized chasing sticks was her lifes’ passion. She has grown bright and strong, like her coat, since we adopted her. Boundless energy is her MO and now her love for diving into fresh powder almost tires her out. She is loyal, smart and always is looking at us for the next thing we might do. We definitely look forward to when she slows down a hair but we could not be happier with Giblet and the way her tail hardly ever stops wagging makes us think the feeling is mutual. Thanks again everyone at the Animal Adoption Center.


Patches was originally found on the Wind River Indian Reservation at our June 2018 spay/neuter clinic. She was scared and hairless with a severe case of Mange. We brought her back to Jackson to get the medical care she needed and deserved. After a few weeks in a medical foster home, she began to come out of her shell and gain her confidence while growing her hair back. Everyday was a huge improvement and it didn’t take long for her to adjust to the spoiled life and get adopted. Patches, now Giblet, is a Wilson dog!