Waiting for the Right Home: Sage’s Story

A brown and black dog sits in a camping chair inside of the right home for her.

It was June 13th of 2023 and Sage (formerly Natalia) tilted her head in curiosity as a potential adopter peered excitedly into her kennel. Sage’s initial surrender into HSU’s care, as well as a return following an adoption that didn’t work out, were both attributed to her energetic personality feeling like too much to handle for previous guardians. She was beginning to lose hope that she would ever find the right home. But, as it turned out, Sage’s luck really was about to change!

Setting Sage Up for Success

Emilee knew from the moment she met Sage that this sweet, scruffy pup belonged with her family. During her chat with our adoptions counselors, HSU staff disclosed to Emilee that Sage may not be the easiest dog in the world. They let her know that Sage had been adopted and returned, and they told Emilee about how high-energy Sage was.

HSU staff had fallen in love with Sage during her stay. They wanted to be completely transparent about Sage’s needs to give her the best chance of going to the right home… and not coming back.

“[The counselors] told us that Sage had been brought back to the shelter, and we are still blown away by this. She’s such a gentle but energetic dog, and she blended perfectly with our family,” Emilee said.

So, as you might have guessed, Emilee was not deterred by Sage’s past but rather chose to look to her future. Sage left HSU that day with her tail wagging behind her; this time, she did not have to return.

A brown and black dog lays on her human's lap and looks directly into the camera in the right home for her.

The Future Sage Deserves

Today, Sage is absolutely thriving with Emilee and the rest of her found family. Emilee said that Sage is full of personality and is always making her laugh. Sage’s favorite pastimes include hanging out with her cousins, camping, and getting plenty of snuggles!

Emilee even had a funny story to share about Sage’s favorite seat in the house… a multi-seat camping chair! Sage is actually pictured in this chair at the beginning of this blog.

“Every time we would go camping, Sage would kick my husband out of his spot on the double chair. Eventually, one of my family members gifted us a three-person chair. Now we can all fit around the campfire!” Emilee laughed.

Emilee concluded Sage’s story with strong encouragement for others to adopt: “Our lives truly wouldn’t be the same without Sage. I love that HSU is sharing her story so people know shelter doggies are just as good as any!”

A brown and black dog sits outside in the fall leaves along with a cream dog and a black dog in the right home for them.

A Sweet Cat’s New Beginning

Sweet cat laying down

Our staff fell in love with a sweet cat named Mags (formerly Lucy Goosey) when she came to the Humane Society of Utah (HSU) in October 2023. This affectionate senior girl loved nothing more than getting cuddles from the staff and volunteers at HSU. Unfortunately, Mags’s sweet demeanor was not the only thing we noticed about her. Staff quickly recognized that she was in pain and struggling with her health.

Sick cat looking forward

Foster To The Rescue

Mags came to us with a swollen face and discharge coming from her nose and eyes. Her symptoms pointed to a chronic respiratory infection. Medical staff immediately started Mags on antibiotics to manage the infection and ease her discomfort. She was placed with Laura, one of our foster volunteers, so she could recover in a safe and comfortable environment. Foster volunteers are crucial to the healing process for so many sick and injured animals who come through our doors. We take pride in our clean and state-of-the-art facility and our excellent medical resources. But when an animal needs time to recover, we can all agree that nothing competes with a comfy couch, one-on-one attention, and the calm of a home environment. This is where our foster volunteers come in – opening up their homes and hearts to animals like Mags. 

Laura took excellent care of Mags as we continued to monitor her health and progress. She needed multiple rounds of antibiotics and remained in foster for almost a month. As Laura recounts, “despite all of Lucy’s trials, she remained so sweet and cuddly. She would jump in your lap almost before you could sit down”. 

A New Development

Although Mags was showing signs of progress in her foster home, she was not out of the woods just yet. Our medical team grew concerned, as Mags’s symptoms were not responding as expected to the medication. It was time to switch gears and try something new. Additional tests revealed that Mags was suffering from stomatitis, a severe oral inflammation. Poor Mags’s case was so severe her own teeth were causing her discomfort! Extreme as it may sound, the best solution was to remove her teeth entirely. With the problem identified, we wasted no time getting Mags into surgery so her path to comfort and healing could continue. Of course, Laura the caring foster volunteer was right there to help her through the final stage of recovery. Mags even got to spend the holidays out of the shelter and in the comfort of Laura’s home.

Sweet cat looking to the side

A New Beginning

Mags remained her sweet and cuddly self through all of her discomfort, treatment, and recovery. When she was healthy and ready to find a home, we knew someone would easily fall in love with her. Malena came to the Humane Society of Utah looking for a companion and instantly connected with Mags. She remembers, “After interacting with her and seeing how loving she was I knew I wanted to give her a home.” She knew right then and there, Mags was coming home with her.

Malena is happy to report that Mags has been in great health since her adoption. She has gone from the sick and injured cat who first arrived at HSU to an energetic and playful gal. Malena marvels at how Mags does not let her senior status or previous health challenges slow her down! “Although she is an old girl, she still has her zoomies and loves to play”. And of course, at the end of the day, Mags is still the sweet cat she has always been. As Melena describes, “she is the best at late night cuddles, and the most excited buddy to see you when you come home.” 

Mags’s transformation was possible thanks to the vigilance of our medical staff and the dedication of our foster volunteers. Laura reflects on her experience as a foster volunteer, and the impact it had on herself and the animals. “It’s been such a meaningful experience for me and my kids while they were growing up. It’s such an important part of HSU so they can adopt out as many animals as possible.” We couldn’t agree more!!

If you are interested in fostering an animal like Mags, you can visit our foster page for more information. You can also support sweet cats like Mags by making a donation!

Wiggling into a Heart and a Home: Ollie’s Story

Ollie, an Australian Shepherd with Microphthalmia in one of his eyes, had found himself back at the Humane Society of Utah once again. He was an energetic fellow, and it seemed that he could be a little bit much for some dog owners to handle. After 22 total days in HSU’s care and two adoptions that didn’t work out, Ollie was more than ready to find his new home.

Meeting the right person

Jessie had just finished her undergraduate degree and was moving into an apartment on her own for the first time. After seeing Ollie’s picture, she immediately drove over to HSU to meet him.

After meeting with an adoptions counselor to talk about Ollie, Jessie discovered that he may not be the easiest dog out there.

“[The adoptions counselor] told me that Ollie had been returned by a previous adoptive family after less than a day. She said he had some behavioral issues, his eyesight was very limited, and one of his eyes may have to be removed. However, I am very stubborn, so all of the warnings just cemented the fact that I wanted to meet him,” Jessie said.

After he was first brought out to meet Jessie, Ollie seemed a bit timid, but as soon as he got outside into a run, his true personality shown through. Various staff members came by to express to Jessie how much they loved Ollie, but it only took a few minutes for her to know that the wild white-eyed Aussie belonged with her.

Ollie the Australian Shepherd sits in the Utah desert with round red rock cliffs behind him.

“I knew that I had to give him a good life and we’d try to work through whatever issues he had,” Jessie said, “He wiggled his way into my heart.”

Jessie pointed out that she struggles with her mental health, and Ollie has been extra special because he helps her through the darker days.

“He brings purpose to my life especially when I’m struggling,” Jessie said. “He doesn’t care if I don’t want to go for a walk, he will persistently annoy me until I get up and go with him, which in kind improves my mental health. I have become so much more active since I got him, and I have learned to enjoy being out in nature.”

Nothing can hold him back

She adds that although his limited eyesight sometimes makes Ollie a bit clumsy, he doesn’t let it slow him down. She describes him as a goofy boy who doesn’t even realize his own goofiness, and is brave even in situations where it may serve him not to be. For example, Ollie doesn’t know how to swim, and Jessie has had to rescue him from running into bodies of water multiple times.

“Ollie has contributed so much in my life, and I am forever grateful I was able to adopt him. I am flying to Colorado to get a portrait tattoo of Ollie on August 31st,” Jessie said. “There were a few behaviors that were really frustrating with Ollie in the beginning, but I gave him consistency and training to show him there was nothing to be afraid of. I also realize that Ollie has situations that he is not comfortable with, just like humans, and we are able to work around and avoid those situations.”

Jessie said she would suggest adopting a pet to anyone considering it. “There will be good and bad times in the beginning, but if you are consistent and patient while you train them, they will become the best pet you could have ever asked for.”

If you are interested in following more of Ollie’s story, he has an Instagram account! See more of this wonderful pup at @olliethewhiteeyeaussie.

Fearful Dog Gets a Second Chance

Maverick a fearful former outdoor dog lays on a wooden deck at his new home.

Maverick, a teenage puppy, came to HSU’s Pet Resource Center in Murray five days before Christmas.  His guardian said he could no longer care for him due to having a newborn. He described the 8-month-old pup as “smart and kind” and “very fond of his soccer ball.” He also shared that Maverick had a history of being nervous around all people, both familiar and strange, and he’d almost exclusively lived outside. Maverick was a fearful dog who needed a little help from our team of certified dog trainers.

Extra attention from our Behavior Team

While in our care, Maverick’s nerves reached new heights.  He was uneasy with his surroundings and terrified to cross the middle divider in his kennel, separating his food area from his potty area.  Erika Newman, HSU’s Behavioral Coordinator, shared, “When Maverick first came to us, he avoided contact with me at all costs.  When I slowly introduced myself to him, he offered up low tail wags, which for a dog, translates to, ‘I want to interact, but I’m very uncomfortable right now.’ When I finally approached him, he melted into my lap and began licking my face.  It was clear he wanted affection and closeness but was unsure how to go about it.” 

During meet and greets with potential adopters, Maverick continued with his low tail wags and would even roll over to show his belly or pee when approached.  Erika pointed out that these are submissive behaviors and indicate that a dog feels frightened or threatened and lacks confidence. “The goal of our department is to help all the pets in our care to build confidence through positive reinforcement techniques.  Since behavioral issues may lead a guardian to rehome their pet, positive reinforcement training is a critical service we provide for pets and adopters.” 

Fearful dog Maverick plays fetch with a tennis ball.

A foster home for the holidays

Luckily for Maverick, the Humane Society of Utah was hosting its annual Home for the Holidays program, which places pets into foster homes, so they don’t have to spend Christmas in a kennel alone.  This meant Maverick could have more one-on-one time in the comfort of someone’s home without a scary kennel divider in his way.  Annette Perkins took on the role of Maverick’s foster mom.  With Erika’s guidance, Annette worked to help Maverick feel more at ease by going slow with her interactions with him.  And she taught him alternative ways to connect with humans through positive reinforcement.

Over two weeks, Maverick’s nerves began to subside, and he started interacting more easily with other dogs and humans at Annette’s local dog park.  Slowly but surely, Maverick was transforming from a low-wagging tail pup to one who was more adventurous and easygoing.  With his newfound confidence, Maverick was ready to return to our Pet Resource Center and find an adopter.  He didn’t have to wait long;  he found a home with a woman named Beatrice and her daughter the next day. 

From fearful to confident

Recently, Beatrice shared with our team that Maverick is thriving in his new home, where he has a doggy door and can come and go as he pleases.  Outside, he enjoys chasing balls and playing in the snow, but his favorite place is right beside Beatrice, especially when it involves cuddling up next to her at night.  Beatrice wrote in her email, “I took Maverick to a dog park this week, and he had a blast running around with all the doggies!   I am just so impressed with how well-behaved he is.  He is settling in great, and I already love him so much!” We were so happy to see this fearful dog blossom into a happy and healthy companion.

Maverick cuddles with his new owner on the couch.

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. 

Mitts’ Story: An Untrusting Cat Finds a True Friend

Mitts, a five-year-old cat with white-colored paws, came to the Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Resource Center in a mood – and she had every right to be. She’d just been surrendered to us by her owners for soiling the house and was recently diagnosed with urine crystals, which occur when the urine pH is off balance. These crystals make urination difficult and can be very painful and dangerous.  

Black cat with white chin, chest, and toes sit on a tan leather chair.

Testy temperament

After Mitts received a thorough exam by our veterinarian, she was placed on a lifelong prescription diet to keep her pH levels balanced and then placed for adoption. Mary Wilson, our long-time Kitty City volunteer, remembers Mitts well. “She wasn’t the friendliest cat – very undersocialized. She seemed untrusting and would hiss, swat, and try to bite at anyone who came to visit her. Eventually, we had to lock the door to her room, and visitors could only see her with staff supervision.”

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. 

Mitts a black cat and white cat sits on top of cabinet next to white orchid plant.

“Mitts sounded like a project to me, and I could relate.”

Then, in March 2022, David, a 69-year-old senior, read Mitts’ bio on our website and found her story appealing. It told of a cat that was a long-time resident who was very shy towards new people but had the potential to warm up with time, love, and care. Her bio also recommended that Mitts be placed in a low-traffic home without other pets or kids. David’s home fit this description perfectly, and he was intrigued by the challenge. “Mitts sounded like a project to me, and I could relate. Since I had recently filed for divorce, moved from a house to an apartment, and had three heart surgeries, I felt like a project myself. We were both going through a transition, so she seemed the perfect fit.”

When David first met Mitts in Kitty City, she was withdrawn and glared at him hostilely. But David didn’t take it personally. He understood she’d had a rough go at it and was probably stressed, so he sat with her patiently. “I didn’t try to touch or get close to her. I let her be, and she seemed to appreciate that.” After some time together, Mitts gave David a few slow blinks to let him know she felt comfortable resting with him, and he decided to adopt her that day. 

Our adoption staff and volunteers were over the moon with this news. Mary shared, “David seemed to know what Mitts needed most. He took time to understand her and let her get accustomed to him. He was willing to give her all the time she needed, and while she may never be a lap cat, I believe she can really blossom with him.” 

Meet our long-term residents in Kitty City

If you are interested in adopting one of the current long-term residents in Kitty City, visit Tinkerbell, Clover, or Princess Bell online or in person at 4242 South 300 West in Murray.

Worth the Wait: Leo’s Story

Leo's story: black and tan bully breed missing fur stands in living room looking out patio door.

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he first arrived at the Humane Society of Utah in early 2022. Leo, a four-year-old bully breed mix, was severely malnourished and suffering from what appeared to be extreme allergies, which had led to hair loss and skin infections all over his body and in his ears. As a result of these infections, Leo’s body was covered in swollen red sores, pustules, and scabs. After our medical team assessed him, their number one priority became to help Leo gain weight and clear up his painful skin and ear infections as best they could.


Concerns of refeeding Syndrome

Unfortunately, due to Leo’s severe malnutrition, our medical team had concerns of refeeding syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition caused by sudden shifts in blood electrolyte levels. Since food deprivation changes the way one’s body metabolizes nutrients, there can be an abrupt electrolyte change when fat metabolism switches to carbohydrate metabolism in malnourished patients. To prevent this, HSU had to re-introduce food slowly. As a result, Leo’s healing process was prolonged and his energy low, but he made progress. 

Due to his severe medical issues, Leo was placed in our foster care program for a longer-than-average stay. His foster guardian and HSU’s Behavior and Training Manager, Anjela Sullenger, said, “He’s settling in with me and tolerating his new regime of taking medicated baths for his skin very well. He has become very affectionate with me and wants me  to sit and cuddle with him all day, which is very sweet.”


Leo's story: a severely malnourished black and tan dog stands looking out patio door. The dog is missing much fur and all ribs can be seen.

Leo’s true personality shines through

Anjela brings him to work with her every day to support Leo’s mental and emotional health. At our Pet Resource Center in Murray, Leo follows Anjela everywhere while hanging out at her office. If Anjela has to step out for a minute, Leo patiently waits by her office door for her to return. While at home together, their favorite thing to do is to sit and cuddle on the couch and catch up on Anjela’s favorite TV shows.

Anjela shared, “Leo gets along very well with my two dogs, although he is not interested in playing at the moment and not really up for much exercise. But I have high hopes that he will become more playful as he starts to feel better.”. 

HSU’s Resource Center Veterinarian, Dr. Meredith Bleuer, has been part of the team to help Leo recover. She adds,  “malnutrition is not only detrimental to metabolic function, but can also lead to many secondary problems such as skin abnormalities, delayed wound healing and major organ dysfunction.  It is important to ensure pets receive proper nutrients with a nutritionally balanced diet.”  



Worth the Wait

Over the next two months, Leo would require further visits with specialists to help get to the root of his skin issues. While visiting with the dermatologist veterinarians at Blue Pearl, it became apparent that Leo was suffering from an autoimmune skin disease. Luckily, he could make a full recovery with proper medication. While in Anjela’s care, Leo steadily began to gain weight, and his splotchy, scab-filled coat was eventually replaced with soft, velvety fur. 

Although Leo’s road to recovery has been long and challenging, our dedicated team, who never gave up, is happy to report that he was adopted on March 26th! He now spends his days cuddling with his new family and doggy friend on the couch. Leo is an excellent reminder that while most transformations don’t happen overnight, they are worth the wait when they finally do – and it’s important never to give up hope.  

A Love Story From Texas to California

Six-year-old Jaeger’s story began in El Paso, Texas. While we don’t have many details of his early life, we know that he was a frequent flyer at the local animal shelter and found himself there numerous times. After spending an unknown amount of time in El Paso, Jaeger was transferred to the Humane Society of Utah in June of 2021 for a second chance at life.

Filled with energy and enthusiasm, Jaeger arrived at HSU ready to find his perfect match. Our staff quickly picked up on his quirks and started making a plan as to what type of adopter would suit him best. We found that he had lots of energy and needed an adopter who could help him stay stimulated mentally and physically. He also wasn’t house trained and would need a refresher on doggy etiquette, so finding a patient adopter was vital.



During his stay

Jaeger worked closely with our behavior team and was learning more every day. We knew finding the right fit for him might take some time, but seeing him with a loving family would be well worth it.

From June to September of 2021, Jaeger was adopted and returned three times. There were various reasons for Jaeger not being a fit for each of these families. However, it also gave us more information about who would be a good fit for him.

Jaeger continued to work with our staff and volunteers on a daily basis who took detailed notes of his personality and behavior. He became a staff favorite and was loved by every person in the building! Everyone was rooting for Jaeger to find the best home possible and was prepared to do whatever it took to get him adopted.



Fast forward to the end of September

It began as a typical day but little did we know, it would end up being an unforgettable one for Jaeger. A woman walked into our Adoptions Center and talked with our staff about the type of dog she was looking for. After introducing her to several dogs and learning more about their personalities, she laid her eyes on Jaeger. With his vibrant red coat and puppy dog eyes, she couldn’t resist taking him out to the play yard to see if they’d be a good match.

A short time later, she brought Jaeger back inside and insisted that he was the one for her! Filled with excitement, our staff gave her a rundown of Jaeger’s history, enjoyments, and struggles, emphasizing the importance of him finding the right fit. The potential adopter was sure she could help Jaeger become the good boy he was destined to be and started filling out the paperwork.

Only a week after taking Jaeger home, we received this message:

“Thank you so much to you amazing humans. It has been a little over a week since I adopted Jaeger, renamed River. He is exactly what I was hoping for and more. He’s definitely a cuddle bug but loves his walks, especially with our next door neighbor’s dog who is his new best friend. I love him so much and as much as I wish he wasn’t adopted and returned three times before me, I’m glad they brought him back so I could give him an amazing home and all the love I have.”



Worth the wait

We were elated to see that Jaeger (renamed River) had finally found his perfect match. We kept in touch with his adopter throughout the following months and learned that they had moved to California together. She expressed how she was so glad to have River by her side through the move and that he behaved perfectly through it all. “River has been with me every step of the way,” she said. “He was a champ and enjoyed the car ride more than I did! So far, he loves going for walks more than ever because it’s warm and there’s still light later in the day. We have yet to go to a beach out here but I’m positive he’s going to love it!”

Stories like this show that even if a dog has tried out multiple homes and bounced around from shelter to shelter, it doesn’t mean that they won’t find the right fit. Jaeger (renamed River) would never have met his current family if he didn’t wind up at the shelter in El Paso, been transferred to us, and returned three times before meeting her. Some dogs may take a little extra effort when finding a home, but in our minds, we think it’s worth it!

Butch’s Story

Butch laying on his back with a silly look on his face

Lisa and her fiancé, Austin, came to the Humane Society of Utah during our Mountain America Credit Union Fall in Love adoption event in November 2019.  They had no intention of adopting a dog – they just wanted to see all the gorgeous pet faces and be surrounded by the excited families who had come to adopt that day. 

Then, they saw a photo in our lobby of a dog named Butch that needed a foster home. He was black and tan colored, one and a half years old, and looked like a hound, lab mix breed. There was something about Butch that drew Lisa Ann and Austin in, so they made their way over to our foster department to inquire about him. 

Butch and his x-ray of the bullet fragments

“Your foster team warned us that day that Butch did not like tall men, especially tall men in hats, which is the exact description of my fiancé,” Lisa explained. “But when they brought him out to us, he and Austin connected right away.  We knew we had to take him home even though we still had no plans to adopt another dog.” 

Butch needed foster care because he was sick with kennel cough and very malnourished. He also had bullet fragments in his shoulder. Since he had been transferred from a shelter in Texas, we had no information on his injury, but our medical team said that his leg would have to be amputated if his shoulder didn’t heal properly. 

They brought Butch home that day, and he and Austin continued to bond.  “He would get so excited whenever Austin came home from work. Every single morning when Butch would hear him wake up, he’d shuffle out from under the bed, hop up, and shove his face in between his neck and shoulder to get morning cuddles. Now, they’re best buds!”

Eventually, Butch’s kennel cough cleared up, and his leg healed. Our medical team assessed him again and saw that an amputation would not be necessary after all. Butch was finally healthy, and he became officially available for adoption on December 7, 2019. 

Butch on a shore with another dog

“By then, he’d spent almost a month with us, and we knew we had to keep him. He’s just so goofy! I had no idea that a dog could love balls THIS MUCH. When we wake up in the morning, the first thing he does is get cuddles from dad, then immediately finds his ball and brings it to us. It’s a fun party trick to show our friends that he will choose the ball over breakfast, food, walks, or anything else you can offer him.”

Butch is now three and a half years old, and he can walk, run, and jump just fine. His leg and shoulder barely bother him at all. And he has begun associating tall men in hats with his dad, so much so that if he meets one in passing, he will get excited and try to greet them. He also has a dog sister named Gracie, with whom he loves cuddling and going on walks, and playing fetch. 

“We are just so happy we brought him into our family,” Lisa shared. “He’s really an example of not always getting what you’re expecting. We had zero thoughts of adopting a dog that day and just wanted to look at all the animals you had available. The second we saw him, we knew he was meant to be with us.” 

A Gotcha Day Celebration!

Ryan and Lauri Vincent have fostered homeless dogs for the Humane Society of Utah for nearly two years, including senior dogs and three-month-old puppies with mange. Fostering is how they met Faith, their friendly and playful, nine-month-old pit bull breed type pup.

“Faith was around three days old when we first met her,” Lauri explains. “She had to be fed Pedialyte through a syringe, or she would die. This experience bonded our family so intensely that it felt like she was our baby in a way. So we decided to make her a member of our family.” 

On August 1st, Ryan, Lauri, their son Daniel and Faith attended our first annual Gotcha Day event, presented by Mountain West Veterinary Specialists (MWVS). This free event celebrated HSU adopters and included food vendors, photo-ops, live music, and an interactive community art piece. Plus, a birthday cake and puppuccinos for all the dogs in attendance!

“Most people who adopt pets don’t know the exact date their pet was born. We wanted to create an opportunity for our adopters to be able to observe their pet’s unofficial birthday. August 1 is “Dogust: The Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs, so it was the perfect day to celebrate together with our adopters.” explains Kaya Nielsen, our Events & Merchandise Manager. An adoption anniversary is typically called a ‘gotcha day,’ and throwing a party to celebrate the occasion has become common among adoptive pet parents. 

According to the American Pet Products Association, an estimated 1.7 million people throw Gotcha Day parties for their pets every year. Since 46 percent of individuals in America adopt from rescues, humane societies, and animal shelters, many people throwing parties for their pets don’t know their birthdays, which is why these events have become so popular over the years. 

Kirsten Gull, the owner of MVWS and longtime Utah Humane supporter, says, “We were so happy to sponsor this birthday celebration because we are always looking for ways to help our animal friends and make our community a better place.”  

For those interested in throwing an epic gotcha party for their rescued pet, we recommend coming up with a theme, ordering pupcakes from your local pet-friendly bakery, and getting party favors and food for the humans. 

If you’re hosting an outdoor party during the hot summer months, as we did, be sure to put out plenty of cold water and some plastic baby pools in your yard so your party guests and pets can go for a dip.