Courtney, Sgt. Edwin Tanner's daughter, and Whiskey spend some time together in the Tanners' home Monday. Tanner said Whiskey has "really taken to Courtney" since they adopted and brought him home March 31.

FORT DRUM, NY -- On a cold March day, he was thrown into a river, his fate unknown. With all his might, he fought the icy waters of the treacherous Black River, climbed ashore, and made his way to safety.

Whiskey, a two-year-old Labrador retriever / beagle mix, found refuge at Fort Drum's U.S. Army Reserve Center, just north of the river's edge.

The installation's Animal Control Program staff was called, and the 30-pound pup was scanned for a microchip, which led Directorate of Emergency Services environmental conservation officers to the alleged owner. After investigating the incident, officers turned the case over to the New York State Police, and the dog was taken to the Jefferson County SPCA.

Sgt. Edwin Tanner, DES conservation law enforcement officer, was one of the Fort Drum officers on the case. He said, upon meeting Whiskey, he immediately fell in love with the abandoned dog.

He showed photos of Whiskey to his wife and children, and although they already had two dogs at home, they decided that they would add a third pooch to their family.
"I thought that we could really care for this dog," said Tanner, who is no stranger to adopting abandoned dogs. About 10 years ago, he adopted a stray dog found on post that had been left out in the cold.

Since Whiskey had been through so much, Tanner and his family wanted to give him a good home.

"We talked about (adopting the dog) to see if there would have been a controversy between our other two dogs, but we didn't think so because we raised our dogs to be (social)," Tanner noted.

So, on March 31, Tanner went to the SPCA and signed the paperwork to adopt little Whiskey.

His wife, Karen, said the act was a "no brainer" for their family.

They made sure to take precautions when introducing Whiskey to their other dogs, a German short-haired pointer and Rottweiler / Labrador mix.

"He's getting a little more lucid around us," Edwin Tanner noted, adding that they have been so successful with integrating Whiskey into the family that the dog has taken to following Tanner around the house, but will sometimes act "skittish" around loud noises.

Karen Tanner said the once-neglected dog is adjusting well.

"Despite what's happened to him, (he's) is a good, calm dog who gets along great with the other dogs," she said. "You can see he was traumatized. He has a sad look that says he went through something difficult."

Edwin Tanner noted that disposing of an animal in this manner is not the right way to handle an unwanted pet. Options are available, such as surrendering the animal at the local SPCA.

Jefferson County SPCA staff members request that owners bring their pet to the facility before noon on Tuesday through Saturday for evaluation on adoptability. The SPCA, which is the only shelter in the county that accepts cats, requests a donation from the owner, which is put toward the animal's care. Anyone surrendering a pet also should bring veterinary records.

Owners also can advertise their pet in local newspapers, and there are nationwide foster agencies available if a Soldier is deploying and temporarily cannot take care of the animal.

Karen Tanner said she doesn't think the experience will have a long-term effect on Whiskey. She said they're doing what they can, such as "spoiling him rotten," so he forgets the past and enjoys his future with his new family.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16