In the world of rescue, it sometimes seems like the animal finds the human. A seemingly simple confluence of events combines, and those four paws walk, right into someone’s life…whether they were truly ready or not.

That was the case for Speed Queen’s Content and Media Relations Manager, Randy Radtke. While telling the amazing stories of dedicated individuals active in fostering for rescues, often through the special animals they opened their homes to, seeds were planted that he may be ready to adopt.

“Because I wanted another Vizsla running partner, I had started looking at breeders,” Randy said, adding that after meeting fosters and their house guests, he began to seriously ponder rescuing a dog.

“Nobody warned me that when you mention to someone who works in rescue that you may be ready to adopt, they are on the case faster than Perry Mason,” he joked. “I was entertaining the idea but wasn’t quite sure if I was fully ready.

Seeing spots

It wasn’t long after meeting Wendy Kaplan, who fosters for Milo’s Dog Rescue of South Florida, that the super foster set about finding Randy a companion. Where Randy was casually looking, ever the driven rescue advocate, Wendy was in full mission mode. 

Mere weeks later, a litter of pure-bred Dalmatian pups was taken in by Milo’s fosters and Wendy was convinced this was meant to be – pure-bred pups in rescue are quite rare, plus, as an avid runner in search of a high-energy dog for training, Randy was the perfect connection.

“Honestly, I had never considered a Dalmatian. So, I did my research on the breed and its history as carriage dogs,” Randy said. Meanwhile, Wendy was checking out the litter and picked out the pup who had the highest energy…this guy never quit playing and knocking over water bowls.

There was one other wrinkle to this story – Randy was up in Wisconsin and the pups were in Florida.

“I’m a classic overthinker. So, while I warmed to the Dalmatian breed, I kept questioning if I was ready for a pup. Oh, and how the heck I was going to get the pup to Wisconsin,” he said.

Those were just details for Wendy, who, in addition to being a foster hero, is also a bit of an animal transportation rockstar.

“Wendy put the full-court press on as the pups were finding homes. I had to make a call or they would likely all be spoken for after an upcoming weekend adoption event,” Randy said. “Wendy should work in sales, because she got me off the fence and forced a decision,” he said with a laugh.

The caravan home

Seemingly within hours of his approved adoption application, Wendy had pulled together a team of rescue stars to get the pup north to his new home, with a short stay in North Carolina.

“I’ve met amazing people telling foster and rescue stories for Speed Queen, but it seriously brought tears to my eyes that all these people I never met were working together to bring this guy to his forever home,” he said. “Just amazing people.”

And that’s how, the day before Halloween, in an Indianapolis Cracker Barrel parking lot, Randy met Barnabas for the first time.

Florida meets the north

After the expected adjustment period, all parties settled into a routine. However, it was a bit surprising to see how this Florida dog took to Wisconsin winters.

“Barnabas absolutely loves snow. And if it’s a fresh snow, forget about, he’s going to be flying around through every drift like a madman.” Randy said, adding that he seems unfazed by the cold.

Perhaps his true superpower is being a four-legged billboard for rescue. Wherever he goes, Barnabas’s distinctive spotted coat attracts attention, sparking frequent “meet and greets” on walks.

“So many people comment on how handsome he is; it’s crazy,” Randy said. “What I love is that these meetings give me a great opportunity to talk about his rescue background and perhaps inspire someone to rescue a dog of their own.”

Family here…and there, too

Though Barnabas left his brothers and sisters behind in Florida, he’s never far away. With the help of Stacy Billingslea from Milo’s, Randy stays in contact with the owners of his littermates, sharing photos, their adventures, and stories of their development.

“I think we are all so happy with the joy these monochromatic creatures have brought to our homes,” Randy said. “One thing I can definitely tell you is they are all living their best lives….sooooo spoiled.”

And Randy is hoping the best is yet to come as Barnabas gets closer to regular training runs. Thus far, Barnabas has been a typical high-energy Dalmatian, but has also shown some promise in holding pace in a couple one- and two-mile test runs.

“Regardless of if Barnabas develops into a high mileage training partner or not, he’s brought a great energy to the house. I am so grateful to all those that brought us together,” Randy said.