Until this weekend, Chester, a six-year-old Pit Bull, was facing a problem very common in the United States. For the past five years, he has languished in shelters, waiting for someone to take him to a forever home. His most recent home was at the North Fork Animal Welfare League in Southold, New York, on Long Island.
Chester was beloved by the shelter volunteers and staff, and the inability to find anyone who wanted to give him a home was heartbreaking. Finally, out of frustration, shelter manager Gabby Stroup used social media to make a plea on Chester’s behalf. Last Wednesday, she posted a photo of Chester with a cardboard sign on the group’s Facebook page. The sign was plaintive:
Why doesn’t anybody want me? I’ve been waiting five years. Everyone at the shelter tells me what a good boy I am. So why has no one adopted me? I promise to be good and love my new family. Please maybe you are my new family. I sit and wait for you to come. Chester.
The sign might have been a little corny, but it worked.
“It was crazy. I posted the original photo on the league’s Facebook page and by later that day there were over 6,000 shares,” Stroup told the Southold Local. “Someone suggested I make him his own page and I did, at about 3:30 p.m., and that evening there were close to 2,000 likes.”
As of today (April 6), Chester’s Facebook Page has 6,521 likes, and Chester himself has a home at last. He wound up going home this Saturday with Dana and Adi Dor of Lake Ronkonkoma.
“They came and met him and it is just a perfect match,” Stroup said. “It was by far the most amazing thing I have ever seen — the amount of people who shared and called or emailed was amazing. This was one of the happiest days.”
So now Chester has a home, but there remain plenty of dogs — in the North Fork Animal Welfare League and elsewhere — who are still waiting. Chester’s breed probably played at least some part in people’s reluctance to give him a home. The image of Pits as a vicious breed favored by dog fighters, drug dealers, and white supremacists continues to persist, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. It may be changing, but it’s changing slowly.
But also, people are very reluctant to adopt older dogs. When most people go to a shelter, they go with the intent of getting an adorable puppy, not a dog who’s four or five or six years old. Between his breed and his age, Chester faced huge odds, and it’s good to see that the rescue group was able to overcome them.
Chester’s page is staying up, and the league plans to try the same thing with other dogs who have been with them for a long time. Fiona, below, is one of their first. She’s been in the shelter for two years and has bad knees, but she offers lots of love.
If you don’t happen to live near Long Island, the examples of Chester and Fiona offer some great lessons. There are lots of older dogs who have been waiting for years and years to get a home, and your local shelter would probably be happy to introduce you. For those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muttville specializes in adopting out senior dogs.
Via Southold Local
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