Highland Steele

Highland was at the top of Animal Control’s “At Risk” list because he has a gimpy leg. He needed help right away.

Last updated: Oct 31, 2018

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Oct 5, 2018
  • Breed: Retriever, Black Lab mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Young, Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight:45 pounds
  • Spay/Neutered: 10/27/2018
  • General Health: Excellent
  • Temperament: For a Lab, he’s unusually calm. He is affectionate and gets along with everyone.
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Yes
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Yes and Yes.
  • Departure date: November 2, 2018


Highland and a cat were abandoned in an apartment by the apartment’s tenant when she moved out. The landlord found them when he came to clean-up sometime afterward. He called Newport Animal Control. No one knows for sure what happened to his leg, but I suspect he was kicked.

Known Issues & Progress

Behaviorally, he has no issues: he’s GREAT. We took him to Cedarwood Veterinary to have him examined and X-rayed to assess his right rear leg and see what, if anything, could be done to restore it. They said it had been broken some time ago, was not addressed and healed with the leg bone rotated laterally. It causes him no pain and he has learned to function with his disability. They recommend AGAINST surgery. He just needs exercise and love.

Commands he knows: Comes when called, “sit”, “shake”, “in your room”, “go inside”, “go outside”, “hush”.

He plays fetch well. Not fond of tug.

He is non-destructive of his bedding. Gets barky when separated from his people.

He has earned his full-fledged House Dog badge. We let him run in the house when we’re here. He sleeps on a dog bed in the bedroom with the rest of us at night. He gets up with me in the morning, goes outside to pee, then settles down in the den with me while I study. The only time I crate him is when I leave the house and he stays behind. And he gets fed in a crate. All but three of the dogs get fed in a crate just to keep them out of each others bowls. My three all-star house dogs have moved beyond that misbehavior. They eat around the dining table (on the floor, but around the table). I’ll try him on free-range dining before he leaves and update this note.


  • DA2PP: 10/05/2018.(N.A.C.)
  • Bordatella: 10/05/18 (N.A.C.)
  • Wormed: Oct 5, 6, 7 2018, Panacur: 10 ml (PMFC)
  • Rabies: Oct 28, 2018 by Claws & Paws
  • Spay/Neuter: Oct 28, 2018 by Claws & Paws
  • Flea/Tick preventative: Oct 5, Advantage
  • Heartworm preventative: Oct 30, 2018: Nu Heart
  • Heartworm Test: Oct 28, 2018. Test was NEGATIVE


In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge. Some pictures are linked to Doggy Tales and videos about Highland, click those to open the related story or video.


PLEEEASE take me home with you!

His stiff legs makes him sit funny too

Enjoying some yard time

Highland and Josie do gentle play (Video)

Out on the town

He is black gold!

Highland says, “and this is all I need.” (Story)

Highland responds to the “COME” command (video)

Highland and Callie Smooching

Highland and Blondie cuddle

Christmas clothes – sent by NJ Fosters
The happy ending!
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I Was Born a Poor Black Lab

One of Highland’s favorite dog toys is — or was — a snake plush toy that has been gutted, leaving just the “skin”.  But Highland likes it a lot.  It’s his favorite crate toy.

Highland was neutered on Sunday.  He absolutely insisted on licking at his incision.  That’s bad, he must not do that.  I tried to dissuade him, but as soon as I looked away, he curled up and began licking.  So I tried putting him in an inflatable doughnut collar.  He defeated that.  SO I had to put him in a cone.

That upset him.  But rather than trying to rip the cone off, as many others have done, he became dejected.  His reaction reminded me of Steve Martin’s “And this is all I need” skit in the movie “The Jerk” ( if you’ve never seen it).

I cannot say that in the days since then Highland has become “happy” about the cone.  But once he mastered coming up the back steps while wearing it (at first I had to climb the steps with him, holding the rim of the cone up so it didn’t catch on the steps and flip him sideways) he lightened up.  Once he discovered that the thing can be “weaponized” and used to aggravate the other dogs (and us) he has decided it’s kind of fun.  He especially likes coming up behind Buddy Beagle and scooping Buddy’s hindquarters up in the cone.  Buddy hates that.  Highland thinks it’s funny.

Still, it’s not likely that he will be upset when I take it off of him in a few more days.  Just one more experience along his path to a forever home.

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Highland Houdini

I took Highland to the veterinarian today because he’d developed a nasty cough. Which, of course disappeared today. They needed to take his harness off to take a chest X-ray. He LIKED running around “nekked”.

After his exam we went back to the waiting room. It was packed! Lots of friendly folks to pet him and comment how handsome and happy he is. Several cats to say howdy to as well. When he started sniffing at things in that special way, I decided to take him out to the grass. Good thing too. When he was empty I decided not to take him back into the waiting room, but put him back in my truck. I clipped his safety strap on the passenger seat to his harness and locked the doors. I could see him through the waiting room window and checked on him frequently. Sometimes he was sitting up looking back at me, sometimes he was not visible, I figured he was laying down resting.

When I’d gotten his meds and settled the bill I went outside. A young fella was sitting in a large pick-up next to my truck. He rolled his window down and said, “He’s quite a Houdini! He was out of his collar almost as soon as you left him. He’s loose, be careful when you open the door!”

That amazed me, Highland had never even tried to get out of his harness before. I thanked him for the heads-up and VERY carefully slid in the drivers side door. Sure enough, the harness was laying loose on the seat, still clipped closed, but with no Highland inside it. He was bouncing around doing his Mr. Wiggles bit and grinning ear to ear.

That boy DOES like getting “nekked!”

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Progress Notes: Oct 7, 2018

We’ve taken in two new pack members this week, and are planning another facilities upgrade.

Low Rider

Seriously? Don’t you have a harness that fits?

I picked up Low Rider on Tuesday.  She went straight into a crate in the bunkhouse for several reasons.

  • She was infested with fleas.  We work hard to keep fleas out of our facility, so that has to be dealt with before she can come anywhere near our other dogs.
  • She is fearful.  She’s obviously been abused and is frightened of new people, insects, falling leaves, and the outdoors in general.  But not dogs: she ran right up to Ugg and Lady and said howdy to each.  She’s only comfortable in a crate and prefers a quiet environment to herself.  The bunkhouse is perfect now that it’s not so hot every day.  I can run my big turbo fan in front of a window and keep it tolerable in there.
  • She would not walk on a leash.  If used with a collar, she’d drop and gator-roll trying to get away from it.  A harness works better, but it has to be removed when she goes back into her crate or she’ll chew it up.  We lost a $30 Walk-Rite harness learning that lesson.  The next smallest harness I had was a poor fit, but it served the purpose while I ordered more harnesses.