Every pet owner knows the experience of meeting a dog for the first time, and instantly knowing that they are the one. This was the case for Sherry Lankston, who was scrolling Facebook one evening before bed and saw a beautiful lopsided smile staring back at her. She turned to her husband and said, "I found the one."
The pup was named Harvey, a Husky, who instantly melted her heart. The only catch... Harvey was 1,250 miles away in San Diego! "We kind of had to pause and I was like, 'OK, well, that's probably not going to happen.' I even looked at flights," Lankston described. "I was like, 'Why not look? Let's see if I (can) find a flight to San Diego.' And things were just outrageous — just to even consider that was silly."
The San Diego Department of Animal Services continued posting about Harvey. He was found abandoned in the desert with two other Huskies, and it is believed that he was bitten as a puppy, resulting in his facial abnormality. Sherry decided to contact Joy Ollinger, who was responsible for the images online and had gotten to know the dog.
Ollinger, who is a Lieutenant with the San Diego Department of Animal Services, wanted to spread the word about the adorable pup, since he had been in the shelter for so long. "He was there for months and nobody was interested in him," Ollinger said. "I was hearing people say that he was ugly or 'Ew, look at him!'" Ollinger developed a strong bond with him and would bring him to her office and buy him toys.
"He was a shelter favorite. I mean, the volunteers loved him. All of us that work there loved him," she says. When Sherry reached out to Joy about meeting the dog, she was thrilled. "I was looking into different options on how we could get Harvey up to Seattle, and then Sherry told me, 'You know what, I'm just gonna make the drive down.'"
The next day, Sherry, her two boys, and her dog River made the three day trek to San Diego where it was love at first site! "He's just so goofy. I mean, how could you see that face and just be like, 'No?'" Lankston laughs. "He is so cute!"
"It's a big undertaking to take on another dog, especially a rescue because you never know what you're gonna get. But we knew," she says. "First meeting I was like, 'OK, he's our dog.'"
River and Harvey quickly became friends, and her husband soon flew down to join the family and meet their new dog. Before long, they all made their way home with a new member on board!
Harvey is thriving in his new environment the family says. "He loves the rain," she says. "He loves splashing in puddles and being silly. I think he really likes it here."
When reminiscing on what caught her eye, Sherry said, "I just saw that happy face with his tongue rolling out the side and I told my husband, 'That little wonky face speaks my little wonky heart and I think that's my dog.'"
"He's just a great dog and I wish other people would hear the story and just say, 'You know what, let's go check out the shelter and maybe not pass up that wonky dog in a corner because that wonky dog in the corner could be their best friend."
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