Golf course dog had several adoption requests


"Puppy," a black Labrador retriever mix hangs out at the Ironwood Golf Course on NE 39th Avenue. Sylvia Hollified, left, has agreed to take the dog to her 10-acre property north of Gainesville.

TRACY WILCOX/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 10:40 p.m.
It may take some gentle dog whispering, but "Puppy," the skittish black Labrador mix being evicted from the Ironwood Golf Course, may have a new home.
Sylvia Hollifield said she thinks Puppy would be a good fit on her 10-acre horse farm off State Road 121 north of Gainesville.
With dog treats in hand, Hollifield greeted Puppy on the dog's home turf at the city-owned golf course Thursday and Friday.
"We made great headway," Hollifield said. "I did get her to come up to me and she took cookies out of my hand. She stopped shaking and seemed comfortable."
Yet when Hollifield came out with a leash dangling around her neck - in what Hollifield said she believed to be a non-threatening manner - Puppy darted into the woods nearby.
Hollifield, whose pets include a number of rescued animals, including a horse and a cat, plans to go each day to the golf course until she gains the dog's confidence enough to take her home.
It's unclear how long the process may take.
Believed to have been mistreated, "Puppy" remains somewhat aloof, even though every kindness has been afforded her at the golf course.
The pooch has made her home there for the past three years. She wandered up and ended up sticking around, charming players, staff and volunteers.
Volunteers and golfers sneak her treats daily. Staffers let her sleep inside when it's raining or cold. She's had all of her shots and has been spayed. And she has her own dog dish on the patio just outside the pro shop.
But recently, Puppy snarled at some children, and golf course managers fear the dog could ending up hurting someone.
Last week, they announced an ultimatum that Puppy had to be adopted or they would have her carted off by animal services.
Numerous people expressed interest in taking the dog after The Sun ran her story in the newspaper on Wednesday.
Hollifield was the first to show up, and course Manager Bill Iwinski said he's encouraged that Puppy could be heading to a good home.
"We don't want Puppy going just anywhere," Iwinski said. "It seems she has a soft spot in her heart."
Hollifield plans to try again today. "If I have to come back everyday for two weeks, I'll come back," Hollifield said. "She's adopting me. I'm not adopting her."
Janine Young Sikes can be reached at (352) 337-0327 or sikesj@gvillesun.com.

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