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Published 12/31/2009 By Angela Bender For The Sun
Every dog that ends up in a shelter has its own story. But, the reason they find themselves there is generally the same - owners who have decided the dog was not a good fit for their family. And that holds true for one puppy who ended up in Naperville after being rescued from certain death in Oklahoma .

Randy, a shepherd mix, was listed on www.dogsindanger.com, a Web site that was established as a way to get dogs throughout the country adopted into loving homes before they are put to sleep. Next to each dog's picture and profile is their scheduled euthanasia date. Randy was in a shelter in Oklahoma , when Michael Hauger, 28, of Westmont saw the dog, who had three days to live, and immediately felt the need to rescue him.

"I fell in love with him. He was adorable," Hauger said. "I had to work on getting him here."

Hauger told the shelter where Randy was located that he would pay for his adoption and neutering and immediately went to work on getting him shipped to Westmont . He then found out that Randy had a brother, Rowdy. When Hauger heard the dogs had three other siblings who had already been put to sleep, he said he would take the other dog as well. Hauger, who started a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs, believed he could find both dogs good homes.

Meanwhile, Hauger found out a couple from Naperville had contacted Dogs in Danger and wanted to adopt Rowdy. The proximity of this family to Hauger was a "miracle." He found a trucker who was going from Texas through Oklahoma to Illinois and was willing to transport the dogs.

"It took 3 1/2 weeks of trying everything," Hauger said. "Finally the Lord answered me. It was all falling together."

Once the dogs arrived, they were bigger than Hauger thought they would be, and they were wet and smelled, but Hauger was not disappointed.

"They were great," Hauger said. "I loved them to death."

The couple who were adopting Rowdy came that day to get their dog from Hauger. And Hauger found a home for Randy with Lionel Lane , who has a large yard for him to run around in. He bought the dog for his young daughter. The dog is living in Downers Grove and Wheaton because the family is separated.

"I was very excited when Michael told me about (the dog)," said Lane, who had been looking for the right dog for six months. "When I got the dog, I loved him even more."

But Rowdy's outcome was not as positive. The couple from Naperville who took in the dog quickly decided he was not well suited for them and took him to ADOPT, a Naperville shelter that houses abandoned and neglected animals and rehabilitates them to become companions for families. This is all too common, according to Rich Glessner, director of operations at ADOPT.

"(People will get a dog) and then 30 days later realize they got in over their head," Glessner said, "Just because they are cute and adorable doesn't mean they are a good fit."

That is why ADOPT, where Rowdy is now known as Ralphie, has a questionnaire that potential adopters have to fill out that asks a variety of questions, including those about their lifestyle, age of the animal they are looking for and what kind of activity level they are looking for. This information helps counselors find an animal that is mutually beneficial and minimizes the risk of the animal coming back.

And for those who get their pet from a shelter, the rewards can be great, including not only an animal that is right for the family, but also lower costs than pet stores for animals that have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

"Most people who get their animal from a shelter say it's the best thing," Glessner said. "As long as they continue to spread the word, animal welfare will continue to improve."