Artichoke’s Story: Once Abandoned, Now Adored

April 8, 2020

Artichoke and Banjo

Juliana M. was looking to add a new furry member to her family who would be a good sibling for her two cats and 60 lb. Newfoundland-mix, Banjo. She visited many shelters and rescue groups in her area in Maine without much luck in finding the right match—but she didn’t give up hope. 

“I was looking for a small dog, but they're hard to come by in Maine,” Juliana says. “I checked out Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland, did the loop around all the kennels and there were only big dogs. On my way out I passed a kennel that had been empty only a minute earlier.” 

In that kennel was Artichoke, gazing hopefully at Juliana. She had just arrived at ARLGP and wasn’t available quite yet. Juliana had to wait a little longer to see if Artichoke would be a good match. And Artichoke had been on a long journey to get to this point—physically and emotionally.

 Abandoned Artichoke

Rescued by the New York City Police Department in July 2019, Artichoke had been abandoned in an apartment with another dog and a cat. It is unknown how long the trio had been left alone, but it was suspected it could’ve been up to two months. They were initially taken to Animal Care Centers of New York City, but all three animals were later transferred to the ASPCA for further care.

Artichoke after being rescued

“Thankfully Artichoke was in relatively good shape on arrival,” says Dr. Aubrey Crowley, ASPCA Animal Hospital Veterinarian. “She had some diarrhea and was a little dirty, but otherwise seemed relatively healthy.”

Artichoke didn’t have many medical concerns, but her past had taken its toll on her emotionally. She showed mildly fearful behavior, particularly to new people and the busy city environment.

The ASPCA Behavior team decided that it was in Artichoke’s best interests to transfer her out of the hustle and bustle of New York City and secured placement for her with a partner shelter in Maine. 

Artichoke after being rescued

Moving to Maine

Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland (ARLGP) has been a rescue partner of the ASPCA for over two years. During that time, they’ve found homes for 32 dogs relocated from the ASPCA Adoption Center. 

Eileen Hanavan, Director of Volunteer and Foster Engagement at the ASPCA, drove the relocation vehicle to take Artichoke and several other dogs that were seeking homes in a non-urban environment from the ASPCA Adoption Center to ARLGP in late September 2019. 

“Artichoke was such a cutie,” Eileen recalls. “She was calm and very quiet; she was a bit timid when she was loaded into her travel accommodations but seemed to settle in well for the long-haul.” 

Artichoke was still learning to trust after her rescue. Moving to a new place and meeting more new faces was understandably daunting for this sweet lady. 

Artichoke at the ARLGP

“[Artichoke] took a bit to settle in here,” says Jess Townsend, Director of Operations at ARLGP. “She was at times difficult to remove from her kennel, retreating and avoiding staff, though very social once out.” 

After she had been checked over by staff and settled into her new surroundings, Artichoke was made available for adoption a week after her arrival at ARLGP. 

Doting on Dottie

After seeing Artichoke that day, Juliana was in love and was told to keep an eye on ARLGP’s website to see when the pup becomes available. 

“That night she went up on the site,” Juliana recalls. “I drove back down the next morning, Banjo in tow so they could meet. The first thing that got me were her eyes, they're hazel and so pretty. When I got to meet her, she was really shy and nervous; I could tell she just needed time to come out of her shell. Banjo got along and home she came!”


Artichoke’s name was changed to Dottie after her adoption and she was finally ready to be doted on by a loving family.

“We know that she was found abandoned, so don't know what her life was like before,” says Juliana. “She seemed to quickly realize that she's in a safe place and relaxed and started to be herself.”

Dottie’s new family has taken her to obedience classes recently, and as a food-driven, smart pup she’s learning fast! Dottie has happily settled into her new home, and her new country life is a world away from her difficult past.

“Dottie likes to spend her days lovingly tormenting Banjo or snuggling him,” Juliana reveals. “She's an obsessive toy stealer and won't let him have anything. Each morning she sits at the foot of the bed and looks out the window at the yard and woods. I like to imagine she's thinking of her days in the city and how peaceful her life is now.”


Queen of the dog park, Dottie doesn’t let her size dictate her buddies. She loves to romp around with the big dogs and plays rough but fun. Her boundless energy and zest for life continues to astound and delight her adopters.

“Once you find a new friend there’s an adjustment period for everyone involved,” notes Juliana. “Even with the challenges, it's worth the effort and I'm so grateful the Dottie is in our lives.”

artichoke resting on her back