Chief, Draco, Nitro, Raquel, and Zorro

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted about any Animal House dogs. Since I last worked with Mickey, Animal House has been turning over a lot of adoptions so I really haven’t spent a lot of time running with any one particular dog. Over the past few months Angel, Rocky, Kendal, Benny, Xara, Buzz, Benji, Happy, and Frieda have all been adopted.

But here are a few great dogs who are still stuck at the shelter. I’ve spent some time with each of these dogs and really think they’d make great companions with the right owner.

Chief (Photo from Animal House)

Chief has been at the shelter since last July. I’ve been out running with him a couple times and he learns very quickly and really wants to work with you. He gets very attached to people and has some separation anxiety issues so he’d probably be best with someone who can spend more time at home with him. His only other issue is purely cosmetic. You can’t tell from the photos but half of his hair is missing. Evidently it’s a genetic condition, blue hair alopecia, so other than regular brushing and feeding him high quality food, there isn’t anything you can do about it. Anyone willing to take home the funny looking dog that no one else wants is going to end up with an incredibly loyal companion.

Draco¬†is one of my all time favorites. Animal House brought him in from some other shelter that wasn’t feeding their dogs enough and when I first met him, he was all skin and bones. He’s super friendly and loves treats and attention so he was very easy to work with. He loves to run and the first time I took him out on the trails, he just fell in naturally to bound along at my side. He’s in a foster home now and is doing extremely well learning basic commands. He’s even learning how to run nicely next to a bike. The only problem is his name. I guess the volunteers were on a Harry Potter streak assigning names and he got stuck with the mean kid’s name. It really doesn’t suit his personality. His foster mom has been calling him Drake which is a bit better.

Skinny Draco happy to be out on his first run at Reservoir Ridge.
Draco looking much better at his foster home. (Photo from his foster mom, Abby)
Nitro (Photo from Animal House)

Nitro is another one who could use a better name. Kim asked me to take him out for the first time just a couple days after I ran the Antelope Island 100k. My legs were still pretty wobbly from the race and with a name like Nitro, I expected to get dragged all over Reservoir Ridge. But Nitro turned out to be a pretty good dog. We had a bumpy start …mostly because it didn’t seem like he’d had any practice on leash and didn’t quite know how to behave. But once we got things sorted out, he was really easy to run with. He has a lot of energy and has plenty of moments when he gets super excited and occasionally spins around in circles. But he responds really well to both positive and negative voice commands. Just tell him NO when he’s in mid-jump and he’ll actually stop himself and settle down ….my own dogs won’t even do that once they get wound up! I think he’ll do extremely well if anyone takes the time to pay attention to him and give him consistent directions. Nitro is living with a foster right now and is doing great. He gets along with another dog in the house and chases the cats around, but not maliciously. For a lab mix, he’s on the small side so I think he’d be a great dog to take anywhere traveling around running, hiking, and camping.

Raquel has a ton of energy but is really very easy to run with. She’s very responsive and loves attention and treats so she’s super easy to train. I honestly have no idea why she’s still at the shelter. Other than her high energy, she has a pretty impressive vertical leap …maybe she’d make a great frisbee dog? She’ll be a lot of fun for anyone who stays active and runs and hikes regularly.


Zorro really shoudn’t be on this list of dogs that have been difficult to adopt out. He’s hands down the best behaved dog that I’ve run with yet. He walks and runs on a slack leash at your hip and pays attention to voice commands. He’ll follow behind you on narrow single track and if you tell him to go, he’ll run out in front as fast as you want to go. But he doesn’t pull and will come right back to your hip as soon as you tell him slow down. (I would love to try skijoring with him!) He knows how to sit and he is very patient and gentle taking treats. He hasn’t quite mastered “down” yet but he will gladly roll over for a tummy rub. For a Malamute mix, he’s really quite calm and gentle …definitely not your typical alpha dog. But despite his nearly perfect behavior and temperament, it’ll probably take some effort to find him the perfect home just because he’s a Malamute and it’ll take a lot of work to take care of him. He’ll need a lot of exercise, he’ll shed a ton, he’ll be miserable in our summer heat, and he sings. But anyone who thinks these are all lame excuses to pass up a perfectly good dog is going to love this guy.


If anyone is interested in adopting any of these dogs, please contact Animal House. The Animal House staff will have a lot more detailed information about each dog. Nitro and Draco are currently living in foster homes and Chief has been in and out of fosters homes and is currently back at the shelter. Some have even worked with volunteer trainers.

I would be happy to answer any questions as well. And anyone interested in meeting a dog to can always come out and join our Fort Collins Trail Runners social at 6pm every Tuesday at Reservoir Ridge. I always bring a dog from Animal House to the run.

Join the Conversation


  1. Beautiful looking and sounding dogs. We already have 6 rescues, so no room in our pack right now.

    Running with a dog is one of my favourite things to do. So much fun seeing the run through their eyes. Hope they all find great homes soon.

    …and yes, you need to do some skijoring (or bikejoring) with Zorro. You’d both have a blast.

  2. We had 7 at one point, but lost one a few years ago.

    Most of our guys are retired sleddogs. Too old to race or other health issues. Still fun to run with them and still do a bit of dogsledding with them too.

  3. Pete! Thanks for putting together this info on the dogs you’ve gotten to know – so valuable!

    May we link to this page on FB, our website, and wherever else we might think to get it in front of adopters?


  4. I loved this post! I volunteer with Animal House and love seeing the faces of dogs that I know and love on your blog. Thanks so much for posting!

  5. Hey thank you for posting this article. Last year about this time, I adopted Draco (because of this article) and he is the best dog I have ever owned. He runs with me all the time…and I know you said his name wasn’t right but I kept it. I almost called him TUCKER…which would have been good…but I didn’t change it and he’s still my good Draco-boy.

  6. Hi Mary, Thanks for the note! I’m so happy to hear that Draco is doing well. It sounds like his rough start in Wyoming and his time spent at Animal House was worth the wait to find the perfect owner. It always makes my day to hear back from anyone who has adopted a dog I’ve run with.

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