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In June 2018, we were mourning the loss of Taro, our lovable Shih-Tzu, a family member for 14 years. After some months, we decided to consider another pet and explored various rescue options. We found a photo of “Buster” on the AWS web site.

Buster was a stray rescued from Atlanta Georgia and apparently had an initial failed adoption. We visited and spent time with a shy and cautious Buster along with a caring and helpful AWS associate. We warmed to his personality; his eyes seemed to be asking us to care for him and soon he was in the car heading for our home together. We re-named him Toma.

We had no experience with rescue dogs and there were a number of difficult and frustrating moments. We contacted AWS for advice and scheduled a private session with a member of the training staff. The appointment was a life-changing experience for us and Toma!

We returned home with the knowledge and confidence we needed to establish mutual trust. Toma responded quickly to our patience and consistent efforts. After participating in one of the AWS training courses, where Toma excelled as a student, we held a celebration for our playful and adorable friend.

In October 2019, our family relocated from Maine to Tokyo, Japan. Toma is still shy and cautious, but enjoys being with us, our family and friends. His warm and friendly personality has blossomed. He is obedient, polite and loyal with an extraordinary ability to communicate with us. He has fully adapted to city life and we are enjoying a new life experience together as a family!