All shelter dogs want to find their forever home, but some take much longer than others. Some dogs spend years waiting to be adopted, and some spend nearly their entire lives in shelters.
But every dog, no matter how old, deserves a loving home. Thanks to the persistence and kindness of one adopter, one senior dog recently found his forever home after 14 years in a shelter.
Stuart, a 19-year-old dog, spent the previous 14 years of his life at Friends of Strays, Inc. in Princeton, Illinois. Stuart appeared to be doomed to spend the rest of his days in the shelter because he had spent so many years there.
While everyone else had given up on finding Stuart a home, one woman was determined to see Stuart adopted. Emily Wozniak, a former shelter employee, was moved to assist after learning about Stuart’s lengthy stay.
“It broke my heart to know that dogs had been there for 14, 10, 8, 5 years, like Stuart,” Emily told The Dodo.
She shared Stuart’s story on social media in the hopes that someone would be able to assist him. Natalie Snyder, the founder of Repo’s Rescue, saw the story and confirmed that he had been at the shelter since 2008.
Natalie decided to adopt the senior dog herself, giving him the home he had been denied for so long—but she was met with an unexpected setback. The shelter initially refused to let her adopt him, claiming that Stuart had made the shelter his “home” for so long.
“After weeks of convincing them, they finally agreed to let me drive 5 hours to meet Stuart,” Natalie wrote on TikTok.“Just to tell me no. The shelter was his home.”
Natalie received support from “thousands of people” who “rallied everywhere for Stuart and his freedom. They knew he deserved a home of his own,” Natalie wrote.
Finally, Natalie was able to adopt Stuart thanks to the rescue. After 14 years in a kennel, the 19-year-old dog has finally found his forever home.
While the shelter insisted Stuart was content and would be better off staying in his familiar surroundings, there’s no denying how content he appears now that he’s free.
Natalie’s videos show the senior dog settling into his new home, where he will spend the rest of his life. He now has a backyard to play in, a real bed to sleep in, and a loving new owner.
“I can’t help but grieve the last 19 years for him. The peace he could have felt,” Natalie wrote on TikTok. “His life was taken from him. All I can do is love him for the rest of it.”
“He loves to sleep everywhere, so I let him. He gets the best food, and lots of treats… No more concrete, kennel or loud noise.”