Collie’s long journey home

Friday the collie kissing Killeen's chin
This stray-turned-star’s new life is filled with so much fun and joy that it always feels like Friday.
By Christina London

You could say that Friday is a bit of an influencer. He’s got dashing good looks and a personality that draws people in. This is helpful because his human, Killeen, is an outdoor enthusiast who shares her adventures online. Watching these two hiking through forests or taking in mountain views together, it’s clear they share a special bond. But life wasn’t always this way. It would take a bit of fate and a 500-mile journey to get there.

A journey begins

Friday was found as a stray in a Southern California desert community. The local shelter worked with Best Friends to bring the 3-year-old collie to our pet adoption center in Los Angeles. Best Friends’ goal is for shelters across the country to reach no-kill in 2025; collaborating with our shelter partners to take in and place their pets in new homes is just one of the ways we work together toward that shared goal.

When Friday arrived in L.A., everyone was blown away by his handsome face and flowy sable coat. Personality-wise, he was calm and friendly — a perfect gentleman. But after a week, his behavior started to change. He barked, spun in circles, and jumped, and this made it hard to put his best paw forward when meeting potential adopters. It became clear that he was not the kind of dog who enjoys living in all the hustle and bustle of a busy environment; he needed to get out in nature for some one-on-one time.

Ready for adventure

So Friday participated in the Adventure Buddies program, where Best Friends volunteers take adoptable dogs on adventures. Turns out, a day of fun outside was exactly what the doctor ordered.

[Big life for a much-loved-adventure dog]

Friday was a tad nervous climbing into the volunteer’s car, but his hesitation soon melted away. Their first stop was the park. Once outside, Friday’s curious nature took over; he used his slender snout to check out everything. He walked nicely on his leash and politely greeted everyone they met. The volunteer noted how much Friday loved being outdoors.

After the park, it was back to the volunteer’s home for some relaxation. Sweet and affectionate Friday followed them all around the house, showing that when he was comfortable, he could be an excellent companion.

Tending a broken heart

Meanwhile, Arizona teacher Killeen Partridge was nursing a broken heart. She had just said goodbye to her beloved Shetland sheepdog, Gunner, after 16 years together.

“I've always had a dog with me to do all the adventures,” says Killeen.

Killeen knew she wanted another Sheltie-type dog but felt lost beyond that. When was the right time to get a new pup? Should it be a puppy or an adult dog? Luckily, fate nudged her in the right direction.

When she returned home from work on Good Friday, Killeen’s dad showed her a photo of an adoptable collie he’d found on Best Friends’ website. Looking into Friday’s deep eyes, Killeen had a feeling this dog could be “the one." She and her parents made the spontaneous decision to drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles to meet him.

A leap of faith

The family wanted to be first in line when the pet adoption center opened, so they hit the road at 2 a.m. The 8-hour car ride spanned 500 miles and was filled with anticipation. When they finally arrived, Best Friends staff welcomed them into a meeting room and went to get Friday.

“He comes right over to me. He just sits down, and he leans into me,” recalls Killeen. “I'm like, ‘Yep, that's what I was looking for.’” She knew they wouldn’t be leaving L.A. without him.

[Life of adventure for a dog who couldn’t be left behind]

Emma Pitt, the Best Friends lifesaving outcomes specialist who facilitated the adoption, says it was meant to be. “Beyond their compatible lifestyles and Killeen's experience with Shetland sheepdogs, her 8-hour drive exemplified a commitment to him that was very reassuring,” she says.

On the ride home, Friday (named after the day they found him) alternated between snoozing and gently resting his head in Killeen’s lap. He was headed to his new home in the Arizona mountains to begin his next chapter.

Happy Friday

Friday and Killeen spent those first weeks at home getting to know each other. As Friday settled in, his kind and affectionate personality shined even brighter. Killeen discovered he was also a cuddler, much to her delight. Friday fit right into Killeen’s lifestyle: relaxing at home after long days at work and going on camping trips most weekends. His home shares a fence line with a national forest, so many adventures await just beyond his own backyard. He’s a big fan of the forest (but not so much of the cattle who graze there).

Friday is the new darling of Killeen’s social media feed, where she documents their camping trips, training sessions, and more. Soon, the pair will be embarking on a road trip to Idaho and down the West Coast. Now that Friday has camping and hiking under his belt, Killeen plans to teach him how to ride a kayak next.

She’s also exploring the possibility of training Friday to become a therapy dog. His calming presence has been so beneficial for her own anxiety that maybe he could offer the same comfort to her students. Friday continues to fill and help heal her heart.

“I don't think of him as a replacement but as a dog who is the just right fit at just the right time and another member of my family,” says Killeen. “He’s just a gem.”

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill in 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill in 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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