This pet rescue story is an entry in the Most Heartwarming Story Contest, by Helen Woodward Animal Center. The Most Heartwarming Story Contest is open to any and all participating Iams Home 4 the Holidays pet organizations. The winner will win $500 for their facility or rescue! Your organization can become an Iams Home 4 the Holidays partner today. This story will now have an opportunity to be featured in the finalist pool in February, 2013.
Bud Waits 8 Months To Find Forever Family
By Decatur Animal Services, Decatur, Alabama
Bud’s story starts like one of hundreds: an unwanted, shivering stray puppy brought in to the shelter in late January when he was just 3-months-old. Brindle with a black face, he looked like what some called a “Pit Bull” and was placed on the adoption floor as soon as possible in hope that he would be chosen quickly while he was still “roly-poly-cute.”
Hooray! An adoption application was submitted on him almost immediately, and he was neutered in anticipation of going home. But the prospective adopter never came back, and Bud waited and waited. He spent two months in the small dog adoption room in a stainless steel cage, with not enough puppy play time with other dogs, few toys, and people coming and going all day long. Now a gangly, awkward teenager still described as a pit bull, he was constantly overlooked.
He grew into the large dog adoption area where he had series of kennel mates who both intimidated him somewhat and were adopted while he stayed behind. He didn’t quite know what to do while out in the exercise pen, usually avoiding other dogs and hanging close to the volunteers. To even have a chance, he needed help.
He learned to walk well on a leash and became more socialized. He started going to offsite adoption events and he did very well, getting along well with all dogs and new people he met. He garnered many compliments, but still, no family for him.
At seven months old, he became overly stressed, putting him at risk of being pulled off the adoption floor and possibly euthanized.
That wasn’t an acceptable option for this volunteer, so I took him home to give him a “fur-lough,” a break from the shelter. That’s when I learned who Bud really was: an extremely smart, very playful dog, eager to please, who just needed out of the constant confinement of the kennel and more individual attention. I had never seen a dog who loved toys and adored playing as much as Bud does – or one who learned as quickly. He was very gentle with his much smaller foster brother Gizmo while playing and would alternate between dominant and submissive positions to let Gizmo feel like he had the upper hand at times.
He adjusted to home life very quickly; he was crate trained and house broken within a week. He never again displayed any food aggression, and happily shared the licking of the dinner plates with his “foster brothers.”
I kept taking him to one adoption event after another. He always got a lot of compliments but still, no takers. At one of the adoption events we saw a magnificent Belgian Shepherd and realized that Bud’s gold and black brindle markings and his black face with dark intelligent eyes and erect ears looked almost identical to the Belgian Shepherd. Because of his penchant to play with his front feet, we felt that he was probably a Belgian Shepherd/Boxer blend rather than pit bull, and that knowledge probably changed his life.
Eight long months after he came in, Bud’s time came to go home. A couple wanting to adopt a dog saw Bud’s flyer at the shelter and the man wanted to meet him. The wife tried to encourage him to pick another dog, but he was insistent on meeting Bud. So I brought him to the shelter later that afternoon and it was love at first sight.
Bud is now seldom alone as his “Dad” is retired. He’s a best buddy who goes for car rides and walks with him, sleeps right next to his bed every night, and plays with the neighbor boy after school each afternoon.
Bud even comes back to the shelter with his Dad, not only to show his shelter friends a very happy, well-adjusted dog who just needed time to outgrow his “label”, but also to look for another energetic dog who deserves a chance to become Bud’s own best buddy, next to Dad of course.
Every week during the 2012 Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign (Oct. 1, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013), participating animal organizations are encouraged to enter heartwarming adoption success stories. Submissions can be made weekly by snail mail, fax or email, and at the end of each week Helen Woodward Animal Center and Iams will select a winning story to be featured on this very blog! After the campaign ends on Jan. 2, 2013, the weekly winning stories will be compiled into a pool and voted on by partnered organizations, your fans and the public. The story with the most votes will win a $500 donation for their animal organization and will be announced on Helen Woodward Animal Center’s blog in February 2013. For more rules and guidelines, please click here.