Adopter Interview: Kara Burdis (DSR Travis)

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Kara Burdis, interviewed by Sarah O’Leary on 6/12/23

Today’s interview is with Kara Burdis, who adopted Travis in May of 2023. Thanks again to Kara for agreeing to be interviewed! This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Sarah:  Hi Kara! First off, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. The first question for you is can you please tell us a little bit about the dog you adopted, Travis, and how he is doing?

Kara:  It’s like where do I start? I thought our dog Reina, who is a Dog Star Rescue alum, was going to be an only dog after our boys both passed at the beginning of the year. But then, my husband kept saying, “We’re going to get another dog” and I thought “I don’t know, I don’t know”. She was good for the first month, but then she started acting strange. So I started looking for another dog who would be her companion.

I saw [Travis] on Petfinder, saw it was Dog Star Rescue, and looked into him a little more. He’s a Foxhound. There was a Dog Star event up in  Watertown which is the closest town to us that they’ve had an event at. We thought, “it’s a Sunday, let’s go see if he’s there and see if we’re ready”. He wasn’t there because his foster, Susan, had a broken foot, so they said “we can set up a visitation so you can go and see him”.

Ira and Susan, our screeners, moved mountains to get us to see him right away. We went up to headquarters and I was still very nervous, but then they brought Travis i  and as soon as I saw him, it was like “Yeah he’s probably the one”. He was so shy and was slinking around the fenced in dog area. He wouldn’t come near us, but Reina went over and they got along right away. Eventually I was able to get him to come over to me.

There’s something about Travis that is just so sweet, and after everything he’s been through in his life, I am amazed at what a completely sweet dog he is. We’ve had skittish rescues before and I was so afraid he was going to be like that. My fears were for nothing! I don’t know how else to describe him other than that he is just so wonderful.

Sarah: I reached out to Susan, Travis’s foster before this interview and she mentioned that it only took a day for you to know that Travis was a perfect match. I’ve only heard positive, wonderful stories about Travis. I’m very happy that it all worked out for you and I’m glad that Travis is now in a safe place.

Kara: I have to give all the credit in the world to Susan, her husband, and her dogs. She definitely got him to an adoptable point. I can’t believe he had the life that he had before us. We’ve only had one accident in the house – I got him outside and it never happened again. It took us a little while to teach him how to use the dog door – he was so afraid of the dog door. It took him quite a while to learn how to do it, but now he zooms in and out!

Sarah: What would you say is Travis’s favorite thing to do?

Kara: Go hiking! A walk in town is great, but he prefers not to be around a lot of people. He’s a trail hound – he is watching everything and he stays on the trails. That’s his most favorite thing to do. He doesn’t completely freak out or want to take off anymore!

Sarah: Do you have a favorite hiking trail?

Kara: We have the Naugatuck forest and all the trails there. We literally can walk from our house to the Bridle Trail and there are countless hiking trails off of that as well. We can take a hiking trail to cross route 63 and go over to Hop Brook Lake, which also is a huge park that has hiking trails all throughout it.

That’s his favorite thing, other than playing with Reina. They are like a match made in heaven. They just roll around on the sofa, on the floor, and chase each other outside. They definitely needed each other. I told Susan my concerns about Reina, because Reina will jump on a dog’s back. She wants to be top dog and I was afraid she was going to overwhelm Travis. But she doesn’t overwhelm him and he goes back for more!

Sarah: How would you say Travis has changed since you adopted him?

Kara: He’s not as shy. He’s starting to push the boundaries a bit. He still doesn’t want me to spray him with flea and tick repellent before we go hiking. When I bring it out he runs and tries to avoid me! But that’s the only time he’s really shy anymore. The first night I was shocked, he went upstairs with us and he actually hopped up on the bed and waited for me to get ready for bed.

Now he’ll hop up in the bed between my husband and I and sleep between us, no problem. Or I’ll wake up in the morning and there he is with his face next to mine.  This morning, he hopped up on the bed and patted me in the face with his paw and gave me a lick. He’s definitely not afraid of me or my husband anymore. He has just come out of his shell. I’ve never fallen in love with a dog so fast.

Sarah: Are there any fun moments or surprises that you’ve had with Travis since you adopted him?

Kara: He doesn’t bark like a normal dog! He “aroos”, like a true Foxhound. The very first time he did it, it sounded like an accident. But now he does it more and more, it sounds different than any dog we’ve ever had. When we are gone and when we come home and he hears the garage door come up, he starts “aroo-ing”.

He’s also a great walker. As soon as he sees his harness, he’s right there grabbing it and saying “Let’s go!”.

He also did well at the vet’s office. He did great letting the doctor and tech touch him. He pleasantly surprised me that he could do it. He has it in him, he has enough trust. I was very very happy.

Sarah: Do you have any takeaways from adopting Travis?

Kara: To always go through Dog Star! I also learned to not sell myself short in what I’m capable of. I was so scared to take on [Travis], I thought this was going to be difficult and I was so wrong. I was judging him on what was in his bio and what was said on video. I’ve learned not to judge until you actually meet them. He is so different from what I thought he was going to be.