Stray dogs may be living a hard life on the streets, but they often have the kindest and purest souls. They show aggression to mask their fear when approached by strangers, but the truth is, they’ve been alone for so long they don’t know how to respond to human touch. These precious animals simply want to be loved, and they’re just out there waiting for the right person to give them that.
A perfect example of such a stray is Neville, a Jack Russell terrier mix. Susanne came across his photo while she was checking her local rescue’s website. Upon seeing the dog, Susanne knew she had to have him. Although she already had one rescue dog at home, she couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to help another pup in need of a family.
“He was 10 years old and I knew instantly that I loved him!” Susanne, who requested that her last name be withheld, told The Dodo. “I queued for three hours outside the center to ensure I was the first to register my interest, and we bonded the moment we clapped eyes on each other.”
Neville was found wandering the streets as a stray, so nobody knew about his past. However, based on his poor physical condition when rescued, it seems the dog has had a rough life. The pup was severely traumatized, unneutered, and had a mouthful of rotting teeth when the shelter got him.
Susanne took him home and immediately observed the effects of Neville’s dark history. While he felt safe in his new home, the dog’s demeanor would change when mealtime came.
“We believe he’d been used for breeding and had clearly been treated badly,” Susanne recalled. “At first, he used to compete for food and tried to feed directly from the floor or from my other dog’s bowl.”
Because of this odd behavior, Susanne trained Neville to eat from a bowl. And ever since learning how to, the dog treasured that bowl and claimed it as his own.
Two years later, the bowl is still his favorite thing in the entire world, and he isn’t keen on hiding it. The pup takes it with him wherever he goes. With a little help from Susanne, Neville even carries the bowl to his bed and sleeps on it.
His mom thinks this behavior has something to do with his old life when he still felt unsafe. Back then, he didn’t know when his next meal would come. Now that everything has changed, Neville is thankful that he never has to go hungry again.
“I think he just never had one of his own and now realizes he finally has one and is guaranteed a reliable source of decent, nutritious food,” Susanne said. “He just seems so heartbreakingly grateful for a simple bowl. I think it represents comfort and home for him.”
Describing the dog as a “gentle, quiet and timid soul who follows me everywhere,” Neville has become Susanne’s constant source of happiness. She hopes that his story will inspire others to adopt senior dogs.
“He’s 12 now and rather deaf and doesn’t see very well — but he loves life!” Susanne said.
Another similar story is about this shelter dog from Memphis, Tennessee. Oliver was found as a stray who refused to leave a family’s backyard. The animal control office had found it hard to capture the elusive dog, for he would run out of the yard and jump over fences whenever officers got near him. Eventually, they caught him and brought him to Memphis Animal Services.
As soon as he arrived at the shelter, the staff knew that he once belonged to a home. The dog was smart, and he was a big lover of food and treats. He knew that if he behaved well, he would be given lots of them. Oliver loved eating so much that he developed the habit of carrying his food bowl everywhere he went! The dog would have the container in his mouth most of the time, even when he was moved to his permanent kennel.
The staff thought the act was so adorable, and they started taking photos of him whenever he did it. They posted the cute snaps on their social media for others to enjoy. Those images gave Oliver the exposure he needed, and the shelter started receiving an unusually large amount of applications to adopt him. A few months later, Oliver’s new family arrived to pick him up and take him home!
We’re so glad that both these dogs ended up finding their forever families who would love them for life! Share this story to encourage aspiring dog owners to adopt instead of shop.