Stanley is a mutt in the truest sense of the word — a lovable mix of seven breeds.
Owner Kelli Ferguson said they had Stanley’s DNA tested, and the results showed he is part American pit bull terrier, boxer, American bulldog, American Staffordshire terrier, Siberian husky, German shepherd and golden retriever.
He’s “a real Heinz 57,” said his owner, Kelli Ferguson.
Stanley, who turned 1 in May, lives with Ferguson and her parents and is the family’s first dog. He was adopted as a puppy from the Naperville Humane Society in September 2018.
Ferguson refers to Stanley as their “blessing in disguise.” The family initially decided to adopt a dog as a way to help Ferguson’s brother, Sean, with depression. When they visited the humane society, he was one of two puppies, and the other had already been spoken for. When they met Stanley, he was so mellow and calm they knew he would be a good fit with the family.
“Stan was to be (Sean’s) to take care of and help lift his spirits when the world seemed too dark,” she said.
Stanley was a great help to Sean, but he ultimately lost his battle with depression earlier this year, Ferguson said. Since losing Sean, Stanley has been helping the family in many ways, whether it’s providing a much-needed laugh or making sure they get him outside for a walk.
“I’m not sure where we would be without Stanley, but I know he makes even our darkest days bright,” she said.
Stanley, who they affectionately call Stanley Manly, has always been able to sense when the family is feeling down and takes it upon himself to help lift their spirits, turning into a giant snuggle bug.
“Sometimes he makes us laugh by giving lots of kisses, but nothing beats snuggles from an 80-pound lap dog,” Ferguson said.
So in tune is Stanley with the family’s emotions that he comes running to check up on them every time they sneeze.
“When I sneeze, I make a high-pitched noise, so I think he runs up to us because he thinks we are hurt,” Ferguson theorized. “I guess he just wants to make sure we are OK.”
Like many dogs, Stanley loves getting outside, and is a frequent visitor at the Whalon Lake dog park. His favorite thing is a car ride, especially with the windows down.
“Anytime he hears the keys jingle, he runs straight to the door,” Ferguson said.
He’s quite a sight when he’s out on the road, head hanging out the window sporting dog goggles — or doggles — to protect his eyes from drying out and getting hit with debris.
It’s been almost a year since Ferguson and her family brought Stanley home, and in that time he’s truly become a light in their lives.
“The best thing about Stanley is how every time we come home, whether it be after four hours or 10 seconds, his excitement is always the same,” Ferguson said. “His whole butt wiggles, and seeing that just makes you forget even the worst days.”
(Photos by Chad Merda and Chris Cheng)
Stanley is one of the many fabulous pooches from the Forest Preserve District of Will County's dog parks who will be featured in our 2020 dog park calendar. All proceeds go to the Will County Humane Society.
The calendars are $15, with approximately $10 from each sale going to the humane society. Calendars are no longer for sale; the deadline to order was Wednesday, November 7, 2019.
We'll be highlighting some of the dogs' incredible stories here, but if you want a sneak peek at all of the dogs' wonderful photoshoots, follow them on Instagram at Today's Pooch.