Wallace, the dog formerly known as Saul, shakes a paw with Jordy Walker as other members of his new family, Kirsten Madsen, left, and daughter Clementine look on. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

A new leash on life: Injured Whitehorse pup settles into new home

‘I think now he’s less of a perfect dog but he’s more himself’

The day his new family brought him home, Wallace — the dog formerly known as Saul — was recognized by four different people in his new neighbourhood.

“Is that Saul?” the strangers asked, excited.

They’d heard about the dog on the radio — how he’d been injured after being hit by a car. How, after being examined at a vet clinic, he was taken to the animal shelter. How a miscommunication between bylaw officers meant he waited for three days, long after the vet-administered painkillers had worn off, to have surgery for collapsed lungs and a torn diaphragm. And how he survived, even though his heart stopped beating during surgery and had to be pumped by hand.

“He’s a bit of a superstar dog,” says Kirsten Madsen, whose family, including partner Jordy Walker and daughter Clementine, adopted him this year. “There’s definitely an outpouring of care for him that I’ve noticed.”

Wallace’s foster mom called to check on him the week he went home. When the family went to the shelter to fill out his formal adoption paperwork, everyone wanted to see him. At the Feed Store, staff asked if the things Madsen was buying were for Saul. When Madsen’s neighbour saw Wallace, she ran inside to bring her daughter out to meet the dog. Then she knit booties for him.

Wallace — named for author David Foster Wallace because, as Madsen puts it, “it just sounded weird to be yelling (Saul) in the woods” — has been living with his new family now for almost a month.

On a cold winter weeknight, he lies curled in his bed in the living room. That’s where he usually sleeps — right between Madsen and Walker’s bedroom, and Clementine’s room. There, he shares the heat of the woodstove with his 40 siblings — an aquarium full of tiny snails. A yellow post-it note on the glass of the tank has Clementine’s handwriting. We love you too, it says.

Despite the responsibility of the snails, Clementine also wanted a puppy this Christmas. At the time, Madsen and Walker had been thinking about a dog.

Their last one, which Madsen had for 13 years, died when Clementine, now six, was a year old.

“I was kind of heartbroken and it took me a really long time to want another dog,” Madsen says. Being open to the idea again was so fresh, they weren’t even looking at dogs, or telling people about the decision.

“We weren’t doing anything to attract a dog to us, except for feeling ready.”

Madsen didn’t hear about Wallace in the news. Instead, she found out about him when she was visiting his foster mom’s Porter Creek business one day. The woman told Madsen about Wallace and showed her a picture. Madsen liked his ears.

When she told Walker there was something about the dog that she liked, Walker said she should meet him. She did, during a follow-up visit with Wallace’s foster mom. It wasn’t planned, but when Madsen suggested her family might like to meet the dog, his foster opened the door to another room in her office. Madsen heard nails clicking on the floor.

“Wallace came running down and he came right over and just looked at me and licked my ear and stared at me and I was like….” Madsen pauses and laughs. “I really loved him.”

When another family passed on him later that day, Madsen’s family met Wallace as a unit.

“He came running over to the three of us and totally broke Jordy’s heart,” says Madsen.

“He came up, licked my face and snuggled right in,” says Walker. “I really liked this dog instantly.”

So they took him home to see what he was like. Because Walker, a musician, works from home, Wallace has someone with him all the time. Walker says he’s a great co-worker. He just hangs out.

They go on a few walks every day. Wallace loves catching, pulling and playing ball. He’s been on a short ski, but nothing too intense yet. He’s still healing and needs the go-ahead from the vet before he can get the kind of exercise he seems to want.

In the meantime, they’re getting to know his personality. At first, Walker says, Wallace was mellow and gentle. As he’s gotten comfortable with them though, he says the dog is showing his playful side.

“(At first) I was like ‘he’s so great. He doesn’t get into anything, he doesn’t jump on the bed, he doesn’t jump on people, he’s friendly. He’s the perfect dog,’” says Madsen. He never farted. He didn’t even shed.

Madsen jokes now that he was just on his best behaviour until they had signed the adoption papers, though she says his sweetness, his gentle side, is still there. They say he fits right in.

“I think now he’s less of a perfect dog but he’s more himself.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

DogsWhitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Wallace, the dog formerly known as Saul, yawns as he hangs out in his new home with his new family in Whitehorse. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read