Only When Puppy Gets Returned To Shelter For The 11th Time Does Staff Realises What’s Wrong
Benji, a cheerful young puppy, had been a resident of his local animal shelter since he was only four weeks old. Despite his playful nature, he found himself being returned after adoption multiple times, leaving shelter staff puzzled and concerned about what could be the underlying issue.
A Beloved Shelter Favorite
During his one and a half years at the shelter, Benji quickly became a favorite among the employees. Even though he never stayed more than a couple of weeks before being adopted, he had garnered the affection of everyone.
Benji had been adopted over eleven times, but each time, he was inevitably brought back after a short period. While the shelter employees cherished this calm and lovable puppy, they couldn't help but notice that something seemed off whenever he left their premises.
Background Check Efforts
With each adoption, the shelter diligently conducted extensive background checks to ensure that Benji would be placed in a suitable home. Despite their best efforts, no one seemed able to form a bond with him. The prospective owners were even willing to have Benji examined by a veterinarian to rule out any hidden health concerns.
However, the examinations consistently confirmed that he was in perfect health. Consequently, the shelter employees reluctantly concluded that Benji was simply unlucky, with no underlying issues at play.
Digging into Benji's First Adoption
To grasp the perplexing pattern surrounding Benji's repeated returns, we must examine his first adoption. His initial adoption occurred swiftly, with him being brought to the shelter just a day later. Even from the outset, the shelter staff had ensured that the new owner had ample experience with dogs.
Benji's presence at the shelter was a rarity, as most of the dogs up for adoption were older. Naturally, the employees believed that Benji had finally found his forever home.
A Perfect Match
The adopted family consisted of a young, married couple longing for the addition of a puppy, along with their enthusiastic 5-year-old daughter. Benji's calm and composed nature made him the ideal fit for this family. Additionally, the parents had prior experience with dogs and were well-equipped to train him.
With the mother working from home, Benji would always be surrounded by people ready to shower him with attention. On the surface, everything appeared to be a perfect match made in heaven. However, their happiness was short-lived when Benji was returned to the shelter a mere three weeks later.
Unclear Reasons for Return
When the father arrived alone at the shelter, Benji, seemingly happy and excited, followed closely behind. The shelter employees could see the connection between Benji and the father, which made his return all the more perplexing.
Despite thorough questioning, the father's answers regarding why Benji was being returned remained vague. Ultimately, it was concluded that Benji was too challenging to handle, and the family felt unable to care for a dog at that point in time.
The reasoning behind the family's decision to return Benji seemed perplexing, considering they had initially believed they were ready to provide him a forever home. However, with Benji unharmed and seemingly content, the shelter staff reluctantly accepted his return.
Little did they anticipate that this would mark the beginning of a series of adoptions and subsequent returns for poor Benji. Each time, the staff at the shelter would receive vague explanations, leaving them puzzled and concerned.
It Kept Happening
Like clockwork, Benji would be brought back to the shelter within two weeks of being adopted. It became a tragic pattern that seemed never-ending. Despite his brief stays at the shelter, he was quickly adopted again and again.
The staff had never encountered such a puzzling situation and struggled to understand the reasons behind this cycle. The explanations provided for returning the innocent puppy appeared shallow and feeble.
A Helping Hand
Had any of the owners given the shelter staff a genuine reason, they would have explored ways to address the concerns and train Benji accordingly. However, each new owner presented the staff with a different flimsy excuse, leaving the shelter in the dark.
It wasn't until one of the trainees decided to take Benji home herself that the true reason behind his repeated returns was finally discovered. All the affectionate dog needed was a guiding hand and honesty, both of which he had been denied in his previous 11 adoptions.
Although it was against protocol for shelter employees to adopt animals, everyone unanimously agreed that Benji required immediate care. The trauma of multiple adoptions and subsequent returns had left its mark on him.
The staff noticed subtle changes in his personality. While he still displayed happiness and contentment, a hint of sadness seemed to linger in his eyes. He became anxious around unfamiliar faces and exhibited nervousness whenever someone expressed interest in adopting him. It became evident that poor Benji had been scarred by the process.
To ensure that Benji's endearing personality was preserved, Stacy, a new trainee experienced in handling dogs, took the initiative to provide him a permanent home. Despite already caring for three dogs of her own, Stacy was determined to unravel whatever difficulties Benji faced during the adjustment period.
As the paperwork for Benji's 12th and potentially final adoption was completed, optimism permeated the shelter. Stacy firmly believed that everything would work out, but the situation took an unexpected turn as soon as they entered the car.
Benji's anxiety began to escalate, causing him to bark in distress during the car ride with Stacy. She made earnest attempts to soothe him, but the young dog appeared agitated and uncomfortable. However, this reaction was anticipated, and Stacy had come prepared with Benji's comforting items to ease his unease.
Miraculously, the simple act of providing him with familiar toys and a cozy blanket allowed Benji to settle down in his crate, gradually transitioning from panic to excitement.
Stacy had only been working at the shelter for two months when she first met Benji on her very first day. It was love at first sight for Stacy, despite being informed about Benji's history of returns. She knew deep down that she wanted to take him home if he was returned for the 11th time.
Without any hesitation, Stacy followed through on her vow and brought Benji home. Her background in veterinary studies and experience as a dog owner made her feel prepared for any challenges that might arise.
However, to her surprise, Benji didn't fit the description of a difficult dog. He seemed calm and attentive, giving Stacy hope for a smooth transition. Though she remained cautious, his behavior was promising.
Stacy already had three dogs of her own, and she understood the importance of introducing them to Benji gradually to avoid overwhelming him. So, she kept him separated from the others for the initial few weeks.
This decision proved beneficial as the time alone allowed Benji to familiarize himself with his new environment. Only after he had grown comfortable with Stacy did she slowly begin introducing him to her other dogs.
Despite Stacy's cautious approach and determination to prevent a 12th return, she soon encountered troubling behavior from Benji. It became evident that he didn't mesh well with her existing dogs.
Being smaller and younger than them, Benji found himself on the outskirts of their playtime, often facing conflicts and exclusion.
Initially, Stacy believed that her older dogs were the main instigators of the discord. However, careful observation revealed an unexpected truth. It was Benji who consistently initiated fights with her other dogs, rather than the other way around. The once sweet and gentle dog she had adopted seemed to have undergone a personality shift.
Weeks passed, and despite Stacy's diligent efforts to discipline Benji, the situation only worsened. He stubbornly refused to change his behavior, and Stacy began to question whether this was the reason for his multiple returns.
She remained dedicated to helping the young puppy, but even her seasoned resolve started to waver. Benji's inability to coexist peacefully with her other dogs became a pressing concern, with the constant risk of one of them getting injured.
The Big Escape
One fateful day, Stacy was met with a shocking discovery - Benji had managed to escape! After returning home from the shelter, she realized that the young puppy was nowhere to be found. As an aspiring veterinarian, Stacy was filled with worry and frustration.
Without wasting a moment, Stacy sprang into action. She tirelessly searched the neighborhood, reaching out to her shelter friends and even posting on social media in the hopes that someone would come forward with information about Benji's whereabouts. The sleepless nights weighed heavily on her, feeling like she had let the young puppy down.
The Unexpected Call
After three agonizing days of silence, Stacy finally received a call from a concerned neighbor from a distant location. The neighbor described encountering a dog who exhibited extreme violence, even going as far as attacking their cat.
To protect themselves and the other animals, the neighbor had securely confined the dog in a crate. They urged Stacy to come and determine if it was indeed Benji.
Reunion and Confrontation
In a state of frantic urgency, Stacy hurriedly drove to the given address. Fortunately, it was Benji they had found. However, her reunion with him was cut short by the angry neighbor who expressed disbelief that Stacy had not properly trained her dog. In that moment, the neighbor was right. Benji appeared more like a wild animal than the docile puppy she remembered.
Benji's struggle to adjust to other animals became evident as Stacy reflected on his consistent returns. However, this crucial information had been withheld by those who feared that he would be euthanized if the shelter was aware of his difficulties.
While their intentions were to protect Benji, the lack of disclosure prevented proper training and understanding of his needs. Finally, it became clear to Stacy why Benji had experienced such aggression.
With this newfound understanding, Stacy was determined to help Benji overcome his aggression. Through patient training and guidance, she worked tirelessly to address his behavioral challenges. Eventually, Benji found his forever home, where he could thrive and be understood.