Whenever a dog arrives at an animal shelter, the main aim is to find the dog a forever home. Sometimes, the staff and volunteers need to nurse the dog back to health before they can do this, but as soon as a dog is ready, they will begin the search for adoptive parents. Other than allowing visitors to view dogs, the staff will use many other methods to find the perfect homes for the dogs in their care. In most cases, these methods work well, and many dogs are rehomed in a matter of just weeks. Unfortunately, not all dogs find a forever home so quickly.
Bentley is sadly a fine example of how some dogs are left behind and can spend long periods in a shelter without permanent parents to love and care for them. When Bentley arrived at Pennsylvania SPCA, the staff were confident that they would soon find the adorable American Bulldog mix a forever home. Heartbreakingly, that was not the case, and the poor dog became the longest-staying resident to stay at the shelter. He spent a whopping 1,076 days as a resident, which is almost three years.
I Heart Dog tells Bentley’s story. Bentley arrived at the shelter when he was four years old. He is now seven and has spent almost half of his life at the PSPCA. He was rescued by the PSPCA’s Law Enforcement Team back in October 2016. Ever since then, Bentley has patiently waited for a potential adoptive parent coming forward to take him home with them. The staff was hopeful because Bentley is such a sweetheart, even if he is a huge dog that weighs over 100 pounds.
The staff began using their usual methods to attract attention to Bentley. When they didn’t work, they decided to up their game. They used social media as a platform for implementing some of their creative ideas to attract attention to the dog. Their first idea was to recreate the intro from ‘The Office’ and then to post the video. Although the video was both hilarious and cute, it still didn’t get Bentley a new home.
Their next idea was to start ‘Tuesdays with Bentley’. This involved them posting an adorable picture of the dog along with some information about him every Tuesday morning. The aim was to catch people’s eyes and to potentially find Bentley a new home. Sadly, this was another idea that had failed. Although Bentley eventually ended up living at the shelter for almost three years, the staff never gave up hope that one day he would find his forever home with a family that would give him the love that he deserved. After a very long wait, Bentley and the shelter staff finally got the news that they had hoped to hear; a family had been found for Bentley.
The couple who have adopted Bentley had heard about him online and came forward as they believed that he is a good match for their home. When they were introduced to Bentley for the first time, he rushed forward to give them a kiss. It was a though he wanted to show his gratitude to them for offering to share their lives with him.
Those who had cared for Bentley over the last three years were sad to see him go. However, their overriding emotion was happiness that he was finally getting the home, love, and family he deserved. This happiness overwhelmed any feelings of sadness that he was leaving the shelter. They decided to celebrate the fact that he now had everything they had been trying to help him achieve for the last three years. They said that it had shown them to never give up on a dog as there is a family for every dog out there.
Bentley’s new parents seem delighted with their decision to adopt him. They were more than happy to pose for photographs with Bentley when they went to collect him, and their beaming faces showed just how happy they are to have Bentley as part of their family. While Bentley’s story has a happy ending that is heartwarming, his story could also potentially help other dogs. His story was featured as part of a campaign called ‘Clear the Shelters.’ This campaign helps to promote the needs of animals living in shelters and to help staff at the shelters find forever homes for all the animals in their care. Bentley’s story helped to raise $10,000 for this cause.
Spending prolonged periods in an animal shelter is not good for the animals. Although the staff does everything possible to make them comfortable and keep them happy, staying at a shelter does not offer the same standard of life as living in a loving family home. This is why causes such as ‘Clear the Shelters’ are so important. It is essential that more people consider adopting a rescue pet rather than rushing out to buy a pedigree dog or kitten. There are so many amazing animals living in these shelters, and all they need is the love and care of being in a family environment.
Sadly, there are many cases just like Bentley when animals spend prolonged periods living in an animal shelter environment. Tragically, there are also those that never find a home. Some die from natural causes while staying in rescue shelters, and some are euthanized due to overcrowding and a lack of funds. Thankfully, many animal shelters have a policy of not euthanizing any animal, but this means they need additional funds to continue offering a good standard of care to every animal.
Bentley’s story shows that it is worth continuing to put effort into finding rescue dogs a home as, eventually, it is possible to find them the perfect family. Hopefully, the Clear the Shelters campaign will give many more dogs like him the same opportunity to find their forever home.