The Oahu SPCA has seen hundreds of dogs come through their doors. There are dogs that have been mistreated, neglected, and forgotten, and they all have a heartbreaking story to tell. But no matter what happened in the past, almost all of those dogs go on to find loving homes. Sometimes it takes only a few days for shelter staff to match a dog with the perfect family, and other times it takes several months. No one ever imagined, however, that one dog would spend almost his entire life behind a chain link kennel.
Brad has been at the shelter so long, he's like a permanent fixture. It's been seven years (yes, SEVEN!) since Brad first entered the shelter. Most people lost hope that he would ever find the right family. He was adopted out a few times, but each glimmer of hope was staunched when he was repeatedly returned.
Every OSPCA employee and volunteer has a relationship with the shelter's longest-ever resident. Brad loves his belly rubs, and he's a huge fan of sitting nicely for treats. After years at the shelter, he's made the most of his situation. He knows the shelter's routine better than most employees and knows exactly when it's time to go on a walk, eat his meals, and settle in for another lonely night. Unlike the other dogs that bark every time someone walks by, Brad sits confidently and quietly on his bed. He knows his way around and usually ends up leading his walkers through his usual exercise routine. The shelter was his life, but it could never be his real home.
For a while, shelter staff had resigned themselves to making Brad's life as comfortable as possible. They knew he needed a special person who was experienced with strong-willed dogs to take him home, and they were reluctant to adopt him out only to have him returned yet again. When two other long-term shelter residents were euthanized, the entire community started to worry about Brad's welfare. Long-time volunteers shared messages on social media, talked to the local news, and held rallies to draw attention to Brad's situation. They were concerned that after so many years at the shelter, his future wasn't guaranteed. The situation was looking bleak, but then something changed.
At the beginning of the year, a couple from Michigan visited the OSPCA and spent time with several dogs. They met Brad, and hearing his story made them stop and think. Adopting a dog like Brad isn't an easy decision to make. They needed to consider his history and behavior and compare his needs to what they could offer.
After a lot of thought and discussion with shelter management, it was finally arranged--BRAD FOUND A HOME! With a barn and a large yard, Brad's new family has plenty of room for him to run and enjoy the outdoors. They plan on hiring a trainer to help their new dog cope with the sudden change, and they say they're committed to making sure Brad never ends up in a shelter again.
Moving a large dog like Brad from Hawaii to Michigan is no easy feat, and the shelter helped raise the funds needed for Brad's flight. Within days, the Hawaii community that has come to love this rescue dog stepped up to make it happen.
This new life as a family dog will be a huge change for a rescue that has only known life at a shelter. The shelter employees and volunteers will miss him greatly, but they're ecstatic at this new opportunity. Brad is the perfect example of why no-kill shelters are essential for animal welfare. If it wasn't for the OSPCA's no-kill philosophy, Brad never would have made it to this point. Nothing that happened to him was his fault (it was humans who failed him), but he would have been euthanized regardless.
Now Brad finally has a chance to be a regular dog. We can't wait to see how this lovable rescue thrives in his new home.
All images via Oahu SPCA