Home for the Holidays

Get Your Tissues Ready

Many of you in the community know about Cowboy, but for those who don’t, he has been a long-term resident at the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor (APS-FH).

Cowboy’s journey home has taken almost two years. He was originally brought in as a stray to a shelter in Modesto, California, with no information about his history. Shortly after he was scheduled to be euthanized.

Around this time, Lead & Love Dog Rescue in Bend, Oregon saved over ten dogs from euthanasia at that shelter, Cowboy being one of them. On March 27th, 2018, he was transferred to APS-FH through connections with Becky Pohlad, one of our Advisory Board members. Cowboy has been at our shelter since.

Although he had been labeled an “intimidating dog,” everyone who took the time to get to know Cowboy couldn’t understand why such a wonderful dog was overlooked time and time again. Eventually he became an honorary staff member and won many hearts along the way, but none-the-less he sat. And waited.

Little did we know Cowboy had a secret admirer all along, and it started with a kiss. Cowboy was out on a walk one day and was introduced to Susan Mazzarella, APS-FH Board President. When she put her hand out to let him smell her, he reciprocated with a gentle lick. After that she was a solid member of his fan club.

Time went by, and soon Susan was ready to add to her fur family. She immediately turned to Cowboy. They started things off slowly, gentle walks and many treats, which eventually led to an overnight stay. Cowboy never came back from that overnight visit.

Susan’s family welcomed him in with warm arms, cozy couches and lots of love. The adoption was made official, and Cowboy had found his perfect home just in time for the Holidays.

The APS-FH team would like to thank everyone who believed in Cowboy and provided the support to make his holiday wish come true.

APS-FH Mission

Our mission is to provide compassionate care and brighter futures for homeless animals, with a commitment to PROVIDING a safe haven for homeless and lost animals, REUNITING lost pets with their owners, PLACING animals in our care into qualified and loving homes, REDUCING PET OVERPOPULATION through spay/neuter education and assistance, ADVISE AND ADVOCATE for the protection of animals, NETWORK with other shelters and pet rescue groups impacted by overcrowding or natural disasters to decrease euthanasia rates to save lives, ADVOCATE for animal welfare through education, outreach and assistance, PROMOTE stronger a stronger sense of the animal/human bond AND ALWAYS adhere to our no-kill philosophy for adoptable animals.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram or visit apsfh.com for more information.

Posted on December 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm by

Categories: Animals, People


  1. What a heartwarming story. So happy for Cowboy and the Mazzarella family.

    Comment by Therese Pratt on December 15, 2019 at 8:31 am
  2. This makes my day! I had heard about Cowboy from a friend but never got to meet him. I recently visited the shelter to bring some food for under the tree and asked about him. I was told he had a new forever home and now I know where that is. Yeah!!!!

    Comment by linda jensen on December 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm
  3. I can’t imagine a better home for a dog or person!

    Comment by sally on December 16, 2019 at 2:27 pm
  4. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, for all you do but ESPECIALLY for the story, and Tim for posting it!~ and for Susan M and her family; oh my!! I go do healing calming treatments on the animals and I too was one person as described in article; ooh he seemed, as Beth said, like “silver back gorilla energy” when you stood at the fence; tentative i had Diana go in pen with me and once there Cowboy just a sweet loveable boy; I put my hands on him for a treatment and he was gentle and sweet; I visited many times and then was unable for most of last 3 mos. imagine my shock and then excitement when…no Cowboy! whaaat! he was adopted!! I never knew if anything would give him the time AND also have room to take him in once they got to love him; thank you thank you! so happy for that sweet clown; bless you every ONE!

    Comment by Pamella C Fry on December 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

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