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Worth the wait

From Animal Sheltering magazine Spring 2018

The HSUS rescued more than 60 dogs and puppies from a “hog-dog” fighting operation in Alabama in January 2015. Humane Society of Huron Valley staffers were overjoyed when one of the rescued dogs, Ann, found a home after spending over a year at the shelter.

She and her friend Ivan came from a “hog-dog” fighting operation, where dogs are set loose on trapped hogs in bloody fights while spectators cheer and place bets. Ann was a breeding dog, forced to birth litter after litter for this cruel bloodsport. She and Ivan had never experienced the joy of walks or a warm bed or a treat. They didn’t know what love was.

When they were rescued by The HSUS in 2015 and brought to the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) in Michigan, our canine behaviorists gently helped them overcome their fears. Soon after, outgoing Ivan was adopted. But Ann, who was more reserved, waited at the back of her kennel … and waited … and waited.

She received multiple walks a day from volunteers, shelter breaks from loving fosters and doting attention from all of us staff, but every day that her adopter didn’t come broke our hearts. Ann waited a year and a half—until Jane.

Jane Harlow had lost her 13-year-old Lab mix several years ago and heard we were running a big adoption event. She came to HSHV early in the morning, walked around the dog kennels and looked at every dog. She couldn’t see Ann, who had gone to the outside section of her kennel to escape the general hubbub. So instead, Jane read the posted information about Ann’s background and took another walk around the kennels.

This time, Ann came out from hiding. She curled up in her bed and looked up at Jane.

“I knew it was her,” says Jane.

As Jane made her way through the adoption process, word spread. Staff from all departments burst into tears and hugged each other. I’m in the administrative office and don’t have hands-on care with the animals, but I started crying, too. And it still makes me cry writing this. Ann had finally found her home, and she couldn’t have found a better person. Jane has been so patient with Ann, allowing her the time she needed to get to know her, trust her and eventually love her. They’re now inseparable.

As it turned out, Ann and Jane live only a few minutes away from Ivan and his family! Ann and Ivan have already reunited for several very happy play dates.

-Wendy Welch, Communications director
Humane Society of Huron Valley
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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About the Author

Animal Sheltering is for everyone who cares about the animals in their community—from shelter directors and animal care and control officers to kennel staff, volunteers, and private individuals working as activists, breed rescuers, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians and more.