When an animal ends up living in a rescue shelter, the aim is always to rehome the animal as soon as possible. A dog will enjoy a much happier life living in a forever home than a rescue shelter, as they will get the love, care, and attention they need. Although the staff at animal shelters do their best to give the animals in their care lots of love and affection, it is just not the same for a dog as having a family to call their own. The amount of time a dog spends in an animal shelter can vary from one animal to the next and depends on many factors. These include the dog’s general health, breed, and age. Sadly, some dogs are not adopted as quickly as others, and that was the unfortunate case for one dog that spent more than a decade living in the shelter.
Wiggles’ Arrival at the Animal Shelter
Wiggles is a 14-year-old Pitbull mixed breed, and she first arrived at the Alton Area Animal Aid Association, also known as the 5As, back in 2010 when she was just three-years-old. She has spent the last 11 years at the shelter. While she was living at the shelter, Wiggles had plenty of food, the love of the staff, and a backyard where she could go for a run, says CNN. However, she really needed her own family. Unfortunately, there were many reasons why Wiggles was not adopted quickly.
Why Wiggles Wasn’t Adopted Straight Away
Karla Crane is a dog trainer at the 5As animal shelter. According to Crane, the main reason that Wiggles was not immediately adopted is that she was not a very nice dog when she first arrived at the shelter. Not only was she not good with other dogs, but she also clearly disliked humans. Her temperament was a deterrent for potential adoptees. Wiggles was often overlooked, and people chose dogs with a more pleasant and calm temperament before her. Eventually, Wiggles became accustomed to spending time with both people and other dogs, and her temperament improved. The staff began to hope that because her temperament was no longer an issue, someone would adopt her.
Sadly, a new obstacle stood in the way of Wiggles finding a family when she developed some health issues. One of her health problems is food allergies, so she can only eat certain pet foods. Her other issue is more serious, as she developed a benign brain tumor. When the brain tumor was first discovered in 2016, it was the size of a golf ball. Over four years, the tumor eventually grew to the size of a cantaloupe melon. However, the shelter decided against surgery due to the tumor being benign and because of the increased risk of surgery for a dog of Wiggles’ age.
The combination of the tumor and Wiggles’ allergies was now the main reason that people did not want to adopt her. Many potential adopters were worried about the increased costs of medication due to the dog’s medical needs. As adoptees were unwilling to take on the responsibility of a dog with health problems, it meant that the responsibility fell to the shelter. 5As is a no-kill shelter, and this means they promise never to euthanize a dog simply because they cannot find it a home. Therefore, they continued to care for Wiggles and to provide her with everything she needed to lead a comfortable and happy life. Meanwhile, the shelter had not given up hope of finding a family for Wiggles, despite her being 14-years-old and having lived in the shelter for 11 years. Crane says that she believes there is a family for every dog, and it was simply a case of finding the right family for Wiggles.
Finding a Home for Wiggles
As Crane predicted, there is a family for every dog, and eventually, a family came forward who were willing to adopt Wiggles. The staff at the shelter were delighted that Wiggles was finally getting a fresh start in life with a family and home of her own. Her new family was a couple from Missouri. Prior to adopting Wiggles, they had lost two dogs to cancer. Therefore, they understood the responsibility and commitment needed to care for a dog with medical problems. Since the couple took Wiggles back to her new home, they have her checked out by a local veterinarian for advice about her tumor and to have her blood work done. Her new vet also diagnosed arthritis, so Wiggles is now on additional medication for this health issue.
Crane has been in contact with the couple since they adopted Wiggles, and she is happy to report that Wiggles is happy and settled in her new home. Her new situation is even better than the shelter staff hoped. Wiggles’ situation is not unique, and Crane says that there is a typical pattern that she sees at the shelter. According to Crane, when a puppy comes into the shelter, they have usually found a new home for the puppy within the week. That is not the case for older dogs, and it is not unusual for it to take many months for the staff to find adoptive families for the older dogs. In some cases, such as Wiggles, it can take even longer to find older dogs a forever home.
Of course, age is not the only factor that can make it more difficult for some dogs to find a new home. Some breeds have received bad press for having an aggressive streak or for having barking tendencies. It is often harder for these breeds to find a new home, even if they are a quiet dog with a lovely temperament. Despite the difficulties in finding some dogs a home, Wiggles’ case proves that there truly is a family for every dog, but some dogs will just have to wait a little longer to have the chance of a new life.