Pebbles, The Itty Bitty Kitten That Could

Pebbles an itty bitty one-eyed calico kitten cuddles a stuffed animal.

Pebbles, an itty bitty kitten weighing less than two pounds, arrived at the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic in the Summer of 2021 with a painfully swollen eye. Her eye was simmering with infection making it completely unusable. Pebbles didn’t have a family to look after her – she was a junkyard kitten who had grown up with a large feral cat colony that lived in a dumping ground littered with broken-down car parts and decaying trash.

Teaming up to help Pebbles

Fortunately for Pebbles, she had been trapped and brought to our clinic by Kris Neal, who volunteers for a local rescue called The Jackson Day Foundation. This rescue took Pebbles in after she had been trapped for our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR involves fixing, vaccinating, and ear-tipping feral and stray cats, then returning them to their territory. TNR is a humane way to control the community cat population and stop the spread of fatal viruses, such as rabies and distemper.

After assessing Pebbles, our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, was deeply concerned. She’d discovered Pebbles had a severe upper respiratory infection that had moved up into her eye and was causing so much pressure that her eye would need to be removed immediately. Dr. Gray explained, “I was concerned because putting animals as small as Pebbles under anesthesia is incredibly risky. Most veterinarians won’t do it because of the risks involved, but Pebbles’ infection was so bad that if it continued to go untreated, it would most likely move into her lungs and other areas of her body, and she would die. So, performing eye removal surgery for her was critical to saving her life.”

Kelsie Watters, HSU’s St. George Clinic Manager, also knew that only a few veterinarian clinics in St. George have the capacity to help out the feral cat population, HSU being one of them. She shared, “For our staff, it doesn’t matter if the animal has a paying owner or is feral and without a home; we treat them all with the highest standard of care possible. Every pet’s health matters to us, even pets like Pebbles, who are not a priority to most.”

The surgery went well, but not without a hitch. Pebbles’ eye had so much built-up pressure that it ruptured as Dr. Gray removed it. But thankfully, Dr. Gray was able to stabilize her, and Pebbles’ recovery went smoothly. She went home with Kris, who looked after her and gave her antibiotics so her little body could heal.

Two kittens are better than one

While at Kris’ home, she found that Pebbles didn’t like touching or cuddling, which is not uncommon for feral cats. But to Kris’ surprise, Pebbles began to bond with another kitten, Daisy. Eventually, the two became buddies. One day, two women named Belinda and Beth came to adopt Daisy, but Kris told them that Pebbles and Daisy were now a bonded pair and that if they wanted one, she’d have to adopt the other.

Kelsie shared, “Belinda and Beth recognized that this was a special pair and decided to adopt both Daisy and Pebbles so they could stay together. Kris periodically sends updates on Pebbles, who has completely transformed in her new home. She now loves being cuddled and sung to by her caring adopter. It’s nice knowing that this junkyard kitten who had suffered so much now has a loving, happy life, thanks to our and Kris’ team. Everyone went the extra mile for Pebbles because we knew we were her last resort, and her transformation is what makes our work worthwhile.”

Over a year later, Kris brought a sweet and affectionate kitten named Polly into HSU’s St. George Clinic, who was in the same situation as Pebbles. She was a tiny feral kitten with a very infected eye who had been trapped for TNR and needed medical care. Dr. Gray performed the same eye removal surgery on Polly, who was up and ready to play again the next day. Kris is caring for Polly and keeping her from being too active while she recovers. When Kris shared Polly’s story with Belinda and Beth, they knew Polly was meant to be in their family, too. Once Polly is healed from surgery, she will join her new sisters, Pebbles, and Daisy, in their home.

2022’s Most Memorable Adoptions

Black and white shelter dog Domino sits on a leaf covered hill after being adopted. Domino was one of our most memorable adoptions in 2022.

We love ALL the animals who come through our doors, but we wanted to share the most memorable adoptions of 2022. 

Leo’s Adoption Story

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he arrived in early 2022. As one of the most extreme medical cases of the year, Leo would spend months in our care. Our staff fell head over heels for this sweet boy during that time. His adoption day was filled with tears of joy, knowing he was going on to live a healthy and happy life. 

Adoptable dog Leo poses with a teal bowtie collar on against a white backdrop.

Poe’s Adoption Story

Poe arrived at HSU in the fall of 2022. As a senior dog with minor health issues, he sat for over a month trying to find his perfect match. Poe won over our hearts after spending time in staff offices. Thankfully, he got adopted and found true love! Making Poe’s adoption story one of our most memorable.

Shelter dog Poe sleeps on a tan colored couch, resting his head on a pillow after being adopted.

Domino’s Adoption Story

Domino: Third time’s a charm for the tons of fun and then some, Domino. A wild child at heart, this young pup went through numerous homes before arriving at HSU. Unfortunately, his frat-boy antics needed some assistance from our behavior team. Luckily, he got the help he needed through our behavior team and after spending some time in a caring foster home. Then this lucky boy hit the jackpot with a loving family and a new canine companion. 

Shelter dog Domino lay on the ground smiling after getting adopted.

Sage’s Adoption Story

When Sage came into our care, she arrived with a group of guinea pigs. As social animals, we try and adopt them as bonded pairs or triplets. However, our Animal Care team quickly noticed the other piggies bullying Sage. So Sage was separated and placed by herself. Finally, her true personality started to shine, and she got adopted. Now she’s living her best life! 

Guinea Sage cuddles under blanket in adopted home.

Mitt’s Adoption Story

Mitts: Mitts was our longest-stay resident in 2022. Due to Mitts’ testy temperament, it took a while for her to find a home. One month passed by, then three, then five. During this time, she stopped eating regularly, and our adoption staff grew concerned for her well-being. They’d grown very fond of Mitts and wanted her to find a home, but they were losing hope. Then, in March 2022, David, a 69-year-old senior, read Mitts’ bio on our website and found her story appealing. He came in to meet her, and the rest was history! Now Mitts and David are keeping each other company. 

Shelter cat Mitts sits on  a chair in her new home.

We hope you find these stories as inspiring as we did. Thank you to all who’ve chosen adoption at HSU and granted a second chance to these deserving animals. Do you want to share your HSU adoption story with us? Join our Facebook group and share your story today!

Rabbit Hoarding Increases In 2022

Two rabbits sit in a small wire cage.

Cats and dogs are the most common victims of animal hoarding cases. Yet, HSU has seen a significant increase in rabbit hoarding in 2022. Hoarding typically begins with just a few unsterilized animals. However, breeding can become unmanageable when kept in close quarters, not accurately sexed, and separated. For example, rabbits can start reproducing as young as 4-5 months of age, gestate for 31 days, and have anywhere between 1-12 offspring.

Over-breeding is a problem

We have seen an increase in rabbit hoarding cases, and the community is struggling to keep up. HSU has taken in 783 rabbits since 2020. The average family surrenders 4 rabbits at a time, but some are surrendering up to 20 animals. Animal hoarding is a complex issue that encompasses mental health, animal welfare, and public safety. Most people do not intend to hoard or neglect animals, but with rabbits doing what rabbits are known to do, intentional and unintentional breeding quickly leads to hoarding conditions.

When dealing with these numbers, animal hoarders cannot provide minimal standards of care, including nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care. Hoarding often leads to the over-breeding of animals, animal starvation, illness, and even death.

Some of the families HSU has worked with stated they wanted their children to experience the joys of raising baby animals, and then the breeding got out of hand. HSU encourages families to consider fostering instead. “We often have mothers and babies in all species looking for a loving home to raise their young. Fostering is incredibly rewarding as well as lifesaving for these companion animals,” according to Jolie Gordon, Foster / Volunteer Manager at the Humane Society of Utah.

Consider fostering or adopting instead

“The Humane Society of Utah discourages the public from purchasing unaltered rabbits from pet stores or fairs. Rabbits in pet stores are often separated too young from their mother, which puts them at a greater risk for health issues.” Said Juli Ulvestad, Pet Resource Center Director at HSU. “In addition, they are frequently not sexed accurately and do not come spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated like the adoptable rabbits at HSU. We have even had members of the public unknowingly purchase single pregnant rabbits from pet stores.”  

The Humane Society of Utah Admissions team works with pet owners who choose to surrender some of their animals and helps them adequately care for their remaining pets. We offer assistance through spay and neutering and sharing information about community resources. HSU has 9 rabbit kennels, and rabbits currently have an average on-site length of stay of 18 days. Rabbits make great pets. However, they take considerably longer than cats and dogs to get adopted. If you are interested in adopting a rabbit, visit

In severe cases that require police intervention, HSU will work with law enforcement to help get justice for the animals.

Luna’s Story: Keeping Families Together

Luna the beagle sits in a medical kennel under a blanket in the St. George Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Luna, a senior Beagle, age ten, with big, beautiful eyes and long, drooping ears, was not doing well when her guardian, James, brought her to an emergency clinic in St. George late one January night.  She was lethargic and had stopped eating. She also had a distended abdomen and appeared to be in pain. 

 While at the ER, Luna was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening disease resulting from hormonal changes in the female’s reproductive tract. The best and only prevention for pyometra is to have your dog spayed, which Luna was not. James was concerned for his beloved dog and over the cost of the surgery she needed to save her life. As a veteran living on a fixed income, he couldn’t afford it, and he’d already spent hundreds of dollars at the emergency clinic. 

Luna’s second chance

Upon hearing James’ concerns, the ER staff contacted the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic to see if we could help. After discussing the situation with James and realizing he would do anything he could to care for Luna, Dr. Gray, our compassionate veterinarian, offered to provide the surgery through our Pet Retention Program at an affordable price.  

Regarding her decision to help, Dr. Gray said, “Unfortunately, animals are sometimes euthanized for pyometra because their guardians cannot afford the cost of surgery. Our Pet Retention Program provides medical care and other support to guardians who have fallen on hard times or to individuals like James, who are caring veterans living on a fixed income.”

During Luna’s surgery, Dr. Gray discovered that her uterus was severely infected and filled with pus. She explained, “her uterus was one of the largest we have ever seen in a dog her size because of how pus-filled it was. Without the surgery, she would not have survived.” The surgery went well, and Luna reunited with a tearful James that same day. As he picked her up from our clinic, James expressed his sincere gratitude for our help in saving his beloved companion’s life.

Dr. Gray gives Luna an exam at our St. George Clinic.

While Luna’s surgery only took 30 minutes, it would take two full weeks for her to regain her energy and start eating normally again. Once she was feeling better, her sweet personality came to life, and when she walked into our clinic for a free check-up, her tail was wagging, and her eyes were bright. During the exam, Luna received lots of love and affection from our medical team, who were happy to see her doing well. 

Dr. Gray shared, “We want other guardians to hear Luna’s story so they can be aware of pyometra and take preventive measures for their beloved cats and dogs by having them spayed early on in life. Pyometra is quite common but 100% preventable. One in four unspayed female dogs over ten will get pyometra, which is life-threatening and generally expensive to treat. When female dogs are spayed, pyometra is no longer a risk later in life.”

Helping dogs like Luna

HSU offers affordable spay services to ensure our community members can easily access this critical service for their pets and to prevent pyometra. But HSU understands that even a low-cost service can be unaffordable to some. Through HSU’s Pet Retention Program, our St. George Clinic has helped many members of the homeless community and those who have experienced domestic violence by waiving or reducing costs for services and providing much-needed supplies like pet food, cat litter, etc. 

Luna receives pets from St. George Clinic staff.

“We don’t want anyone to have to surrender a pet due to lack of funds,” said Dr. Gray. “It means a lot to us to be a resource to our community members in this way.  We feel privileged to share our skills with individuals and families in need.” 

Learn more about Pet Retention Program here.

102 Reasons To Be Thankful After Fall in Love Event

The week before Thanksgiving, we saw 102 homeless pets find loving homes during our five-day Fall in Love Adoption Event presented by Mountain America Credit Union. Knowing all these animals will be home before the holiday warms our souls! Thank you to all the families who opened up their hearts and homes to an animal in need.

“We’re immensely grateful for Mountain America Credit Union’s commitment to helping the homeless pets of Utah,” says Shannon Egan, corporate giving & communications manager at the Humane Society of Utah. “This event couldn’t have come at a better time as animal shelters across the state are all near or over capacity due to record high inflation. In addition, this adoption special helped remove financial barriers for families interested in adopting and as a result this was our most successful adoption event of the year so far.” 

Mountain America Credit Union and the Humane Society of Utah teamed up to save 102 homeless pets the week before Thanksgiving as part of the “Fall in Love” adoption special. For the 5th year in a row, Mountain America covered the cost for all pet adoption fees at the Humane Society of Utah during the week of Nov. 14th – 18th, 2022. If you missed this event, we still have companion animals looking for homes.

Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we are here to walk you through some of the reasons why you should adopt a senior pet! When considering adopting a new pet, it’s easy to think that getting a puppy or kitten is the way to go. But hey, ten years is the new ten months!

  1. Senior pets have a clear purr-sonality: While it may take months or even years for a younger pet’s personality to fully develop, when you adopt a senior pet, oftentimes, what you see is what you get! If you’ve fallen in love with an older cuddle bug in the shelter, you will most likely get a cuddle bug at home as well. However, keep in mind that all pets will need some time to adjust to a new environment, just like we do!
  2. Older pets often require less training and supervision: Want a pet but don’t want to deal with potty training? Senior pets are here for you! Barring a short adjustment period as your new pet learns the rules of their new home, senior animals often come with a set of manners built in! So whether you’re looking for a pup to walk politely on leash or a kitty who knows how to use the litter box, a elder pet could definitely be the one to fulfill your wish!
  3. Senior pets (especially cats) live longer than you might think: Although 7 years old is often considered the age at which an animal enters the senior stage of life, this doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of happy years ahead of them! Indoor cats, in particular, can often live to be over 20 years old if given proper care! Just be sure to keep up on vet visits and ensure your furry friends have all the care they need at home and on the go.
  4. Not all older pets are couch potatoes: While some seniors may prefer a home where they can snooze on a comfy sofa, plenty of older pets don’t let their age slow them down! So don’t disregard an older pet just because you don’t think they’ll want to accompany you on a brisk walk or chase a feather toy– their senior spark might surprise you!
  5. Save a life… and some cash: Many shelters have discounts on older pets in order to help get them adopted… sometimes senior pets even come with $0 worth of adoption fees! That’s right– you don’t have to break the bank to bring home a new best friend! To sweeten the deal, senior pets adopted from the Humane Society of Utah come spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped just like their younger compatriots, so you won’t have to worry about those costs adding up, either!

Humane Society of Utah Hires New Resource Center Veterinarian

We are so excited to announce that we have hired the incredible Dr. Libby Gutting as our new resource center veterinarian!

We recently had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with Dr. Libby to get to know her and her journey to the Humane Society of Utah.

How did you find yourself at HSU?

I graduated from vet school at Oklahoma State University in 2010.  After that I stayed in Oklahoma and did a year-long Shelter Medicine and Surgery Internship. I then moved to Milwaukee, where I was the Medical Director at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control for the past 11 years.  

After that long, I felt it was time for me to learn more and offer my experience somewhere else. I wanted to stay in the animal welfare field, as it is where my heart is, so I began my search looking for a position closer to my family, who all live in states surrounding Utah, so this was the perfect place for me!

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

I’ve been doing a mix between the shelter and surgery so far.  I enjoy being part of a team that is made up of different departments that have unique perspectives on plans for the animals coming into care in the shelter.  I love working with the shelter animals, doing exams and pathway planning, but am excited to use my surgery skills and expand them as well.

What’s your favorite thing about your job so far?

I really enjoy the collaborative environment I’ve experienced so far here.  I feel lucky that I get to spend time in the clinic AND in the shelter and get to be part of both teams.  All have been fantastic! I have really been impressed by the education of staff as well.  Everyone is so invested in learning and growing, which I think is a sign of an amazing team.

One of my favorite things about shelter medicine is that every day is different, so it never gets boring.  And I have definitely already experienced that at HSU.  You never know what new and interesting cases you will see every day.

Do you have any advice for people who’d like to enter your field of work?

It can be a tough job, physically and emotionally, but it is worth it to help the lives of the animals and see so many enter the perfect home.  Being a veterinarian requires a lot of educational commitment, but I can’t imagine having done anything else.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m just happy to be getting to know everyone and learn what HSU is all about.  I appreciate the welcome I’ve received and am excited to grow in my career here. (END)

We are so thrilled to have you on the team, Dr. Libby! Thank you so much for all you have done so far, we are excited to see what the future holds!

Extending the Rule of 3’s: Lolly’s 3-Year Gotcha Day

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, poses on a white backdrop while wearing a white banana.

Here at the Humane Society of Utah, we love to tell adopters about the rule of 3’s. The rule of 3’s gives adopters an idea of what to expect when bringing home a new furry friend. 

The first 3 days allow the pet to decompress in a new environment. The first 3 weeks are for bonding and creating a routine, and the first 3 months help you solidify this routine and understand your pet more. Keeping the rule of 3’s in mind can help set you and your pet up for a happy life together. However, we often don’t discuss what happens after a pet has settled in and truly becomes part of the family. That’s why we decided to check in on Lolly and her owner Kev to discuss how Lolly is doing 3 years post-adoption.

Lolly Finds a Home

In 2019 a lovely dog named Chess came into our care. Kev knew he wanted a dog and often checked the Humane Society of Utah website. When he saw her picture, he immediately fell in love! Kev says that he got in his car, drove to our Pet Resource Center, and told the adoption counselor, “That’s my dog!” Our adoption counselor recommended they meet and go for a walk, but Kev knew that Chess was the dog for him. Sure enough, when they met, it was love at first sight! “We went out into the yard, and I introduced myself to her… she responded with a kiss. Her smile just really captures your heart because it quite literally lights up the room,” Kev remembers of their first meeting. As you can guess, Kev adopted Chess and changed her name to Lolly.

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, wears a bunny ears headband while looking up at the camera.

Lolly Becomes Family

Throughout the years Lolly has truly become a member of Kev’s family. Lolly has really found love in many things, specifically going on walks. “You could take her on a 20 mile walk and be home for five minutes, but if you pick up her leash again, she will undoubtedly get just as excited to go back out.” Kev reports that Lolly is also a big fan of toys and food, so if you combine those with going on a walk, Lolly is in heaven! Over the three years (and counting!) Lolly has been home with Kev. He says that she has added adventure to his life. “I love Lolly’s sense of adventure and adaptability. She is not scared of a hike, she is not afraid to go for a walk in the snow, and she is okay with a night in.” Kev also said that Lolly has made him a “happier and patient person” and that she has taught him so much about life. It’s clear that Kev and Lolly were meant to find each other!

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, sits in her owner Kev's lap on the ground both have smiling faces.

Thinking Long Term

We love hearing stories like Kev and Lolly’s! If you’ve adopted from the Humane Society and want to share an update on your pet, you can join this Facebook page. Although life can sometimes be stressful when you are a new adopter, the rule of 3’s and thinking long-term can help immensely with the transition. We truly believe that pets add many aspects to life, and that’s why our adoption counselors work so hard to help match you with the right pet. In addition, our Behavior team is always happy to help give advice post-adoption. 

When asked what advice he would give to potential adopters, Kev said, “Go play with some animals! Animals have their own personalities and have such unique forms of love. There is truly an animal for everyone.” If you’re considering adoption, you can view our adoptable pets on our website or call (801) 261-2919 ext. 227 with any questions. 

Compassion Fatigue: Reality of Working in Animal Welfare

Brennan with hair shoulder length hair smiles while holding a guinea pig in her hands and talks about compassion fatigue.

Brennan Renkin, the Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Retention and Resources Coordinator, began working for the Humane Society of Utah in November 2017 as an Admissions Specialist. During her four years at HSU, she’s held many different positions and helped innovate some of our processes, including creating a coordinated entry system to streamline appointments and admissions. 

In 2020, Brennan brought an innovative training to our staff to help them better deal with compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is a secondary traumatic stress disorder that is commonly experienced in professionals caring for the well-being of homeless animals. It stems from not being able to remove themselves from their work long enough to recover and revive. Compassion fatigue can onset suddenly and lead to an extreme state of stress and tension, resulting in feelings of hopelessness, indifference, pessimism, and overall disinterest.

Our Communications and Corporate Giving Manager, Shannon Egan, sat down with Brennan to interview her about the impact of compassion fatigue on our staff and the ongoing training she helped implement at our center. Here’s what she had to say: 

Shannon Egan (SE): Can you tell us more about compassion fatigue from your personal experience working with homeless pets over the years?

Brennan Renkin (BR): Caring for animals and pet guardians is very taxing. We have neglected animals coming into our shelter way too often to count. We have individuals that want to dump their pets in our parking lot without going through the proper admissions protocol, which is a crime. They get angry and yell at us for not taking the pet off their hands immediately. Or we are meeting with a domestic violence victim, and we can clearly see their pet is being abused, too. We deal with these types of situations daily, and so we constantly have to offer compassion and empathy. This is why the animal care industry has such a high level of compassion fatigue and burnout. There’s little downtime to recover from one heartbreaking situation to the next, so people leave because they can’t take it anymore. 

I’ve experienced this personally in my career over the years, so I understood its impact. I began researching compassion fatigue to support my health and well-being and found an online training course specifically for the animal welfare industry. I asked my supervisor if I could bring it to our staff, and they were very supportive. They saw the need and allowed me to provide the training several times a year for anyone who wanted to attend. 

SE: Can you tell us more about the training and how it helps alleviate compassion fatigue and burnout? 

The program I found is split into five modules and focuses primarily on emotional intelligence. It provides tools for noticing stressful reactions in the body and mind and finding space in these stressful situations to manage those reactions better. For example, we learn how to do a body scan or conduct breathing activities. We also learn to identify what’s within our circle of control and influence so we can reframe some of the hard things we are witnessing. These techniques empower individuals to ask themselves, “What can I take out of this that will positively impact me?” Ultimately, the training aims to enable individuals to take time out for themselves so they can recharge. It’s all about self-care and prioritizing your overall health and well-being while on the job. 

Do you think this training has had a positive impact on our staff? 

BR: Yes, because we work hard to use these tools daily and as a team. We make an extra effort to check in with each other during challenging moments and to remind each other that even on bad days, there is a lot of good. I mean, look how many pets went into loving homes today! We remind staff that while some of these pets come to us in dire straits, they wouldn’t have had a positive outcome without each of us. Our jobs are critical, and their efforts matter. But even if a staff member gets burned out and decides to leave, it’s okay. We understand. Dealing with compassion fatigue is a skill that takes time to learn and master. We don’t want staff to become numb to the trauma of the job. We want them to be well and do what’s best for them. 

Since this interview, Brennan has moved to Philadelphia with her husband. She’s now working on getting a master’s degree in psychology. Eventually, Brennan wants to develop her own compassion fatigue training and take it into pet resource centers and shelters across the nation. She feels learning these techniques is critical for all animal care workers, and it’s her goal to make it accessible to everyone who needs it.

Gary’s Journey: Looks Aren’t Everything

Gary, a three-year-old American Bulldog weighing nearly 100 pounds, arrived at our Pet Resource Center in Murray in early July with gnarly scratches on his face and his tail between his legs. This droopy-faced pup had been attacked repeatedly by two dogs in his previous home and was injured as a result. But, according to his previous owners, Gary didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body and never once fought back. They called him their “gentle giant” and described him as a dog who loved cuddling with the family cat and greeting other pups on walks with an exuberant tail wag. Gary proved looks aren’t everything.

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face wearing a purple and white bowtie collar, stands against a grey backdrop with colorful paper flowers.

Gary’s Journey

But, despite Gary’s friendly demeanor, he would have a hard time at our center getting anyone to give him a second look, let alone a second chance. He was too big and too energetic, and of course, the jagged marks on his face didn’t help. 

HSU’s Corporate Giving and Communications Manager, Shannon Egan, closely watched Gary’s journey at our center. “Potential adopters would see how big he was and then notice the wounds on his face and assume the worst,” she shared. “They’d carefully move past his kennel as if they were afraid of him.”

As the weeks went by, Gary rarely had a visitor. At HSU, we know it’s essential to consider one’s lifestyle before adopting so you can choose a pet that will fit in nicely. However, it’s also important to take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of pets based solely on the way they appear. “If potential adopters had taken the time to get to know Gary, they’d have found he is house-trained, knows all kinds of tricks, and is a very good boy!” Shannon explained. 

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face sits in the grass looking up at the camera smiling.

Gary Becomes a Staff and Volunteer Favorite

After nearly a month at our shelter, Gary’s wounds turned to scars, and he passed the time by interacting with other dogs in playgroups and going on walks with our staff and volunteers. Our team fell in love with him and promoted him on social media to better his chances of finding a home. Finally, on July 28th, a potential adopter named Cade stopped by to visit him. Before the visit, Cade had taken the time to research Gary’s breed so he knew what it would entail to give him the best possible life. That day, Cade and Gary spent quality time in our outdoor play yard, and then they went home together. 

Gary’s journey reminds us of the common misconception that shelter animals are surrendered due to behavioral issues, illnesses, or for being high maintenance. But like Gary, so many homeless pets end up in shelters for no fault of their own. People surrender their pets for various reasons: they’re experiencing financial issues, the passing of a loved one, or they’re blending into a new family, and pets don’t get along with each other. 

Shannon explained, “Most pets who come to us have a proven track record of being great companions, just like Gary. We advise potential adopters to keep an open mind and heart when meeting all animals in shelters. These pets have lost their families and homes and are now in a stressful new environment. Go easy on them. Give them the patience and understanding they deserve.”