Dogs who survive hoarding or severe neglect cases often develop fear and trust issues, through no fault of their own. With kindness, support, and patience, these dogs can learn to trust again and show off their true, loving personalities.
When 80 dogs were rescued from a neglect case in Florida, it took collaboration between several rescues to ensure these dogs all had opportunities to start over. One of those dogs, Huck, went from too afraid to stand to finding a loving home.
A Traumatized Dog Too Scared To Stand
The intake of 80 dogs arrived at Santa Rosa County Animal Services, an open admission shelter, when they were already at capacity. The BISSELL Pet Foundation stepped in to organize a statewide emergency relief effort. They contacted other rescue groups, and shelters across the state took in some of the animals from Santa Rosa County.
Huck ended up at Citrus County Animal Services. As a result of his difficult past, Huck couldn’t even walk upright. The poor, frightened dog crawled around while on his leash.
Colleen M. Yarbrough, the animal services director at Citrus County Animal Services, told PEOPLE:
“When Huck arrived at the shelter, he was very shut down and fearful. This behavior was likely a result of the improper care he had received. He seemed to be very grateful to his rescuers and knew that we were here to help him; he would crawl into your lap with only slight coaxing.”
After a few days at CCAS, Huck started to open up. This dog overcame his upsetting past in the care of patient, understanding rescuers.
“It was wonderful to watch Huck’s personality blossom. He remained a quiet boy but came out of his shell and showed us all what a sweet, loving dog he truly is,” Yarborough added.
Huck Meets His Forever Person
In February 2022, the BISSELL Pet Foundation hosted an “Empty the Shelters” reduced-fee adoption event for Santa Rosa County Animal Services and the shelters that took in pets from the at-capacity facility. BISSELL covered all the adoption fees for the 11 shelters present at the event, and helped 290 pets find forever homes. One of those lucky animals was Huck!
Pamela Rice met Huck at the adoption event. She described the moment their relationship became permanent:
“When I went in to see the dogs, I said a prayer because we wanted a smaller dog. So I said to God, ‘If there is a dog in there that I’m supposed to have, I’ll take him.’ Huck followed me around at the store, and I knew he was the one. I have been blessed each and every day since.”
Huck now lives with someone who cares about him, and he also has a dog sibling named Beau and cat sibling named Underfoot. Hopefully he’ll never feel the need to crawl again.
A Happy Ending That Resulted From Collaboration
One important takeaway from this story is how rescues working together saves more lives. Yarborough said:
“We hope that Huck’s story helps others realize that animal welfare concerns are community-wide issues that take collaboration from many different people and agencies to address.”
Huck’s story also proves what great pets abuse survivors can make with patience and love.
“Huck is a wonderful example of a dog who, based on breed, age, and/or condition, may be passed up in a shelter despite being an amazing family pet who has so much love to give. We are honored to have been a part of his story and hope that it will help others be more open when selecting their new family members.”
If you can, consider adopting an abuse survivor and giving them the life they deserve.