Many shelter dogs struggle to find homes, but Bear appears to be having particularly awful luck.
Bear was picked up as a stray in Flint, Michigan, and brought to the Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) around three years ago.
Kelley LaBonty, director of DAWG, told The Dodo, “He was around 7 months old and quite malnourished.” “He was in foster care for a time, but his foster family moved in, and they couldn’t keep him any longer.”
Bear was placed in a kennel at the DAWG shelter, but the staff didn’t expect him to remain long – they expected him to be adopted straight immediately.
“Bear is a natural with people,” stated LaBonty. “He adores children, men, and women.” He’s quite lively and enjoys being cuddled and having his tummy rubbed. He understands the fundamentals.”
However, this sweet-natured dog has one flaw: he doesn’t get along with other animals.
“Our objective is to find him a home without other pets,” LaBonty added, “but that’s difficult to achieve.” “Over the years, we’ve taken him to hundreds of adoption events, and he’s always neglected.”
Bear may be overlooked on a regular basis, but what makes his story so tragic is how close he’s come to finding a home — only to be turned down at the last minute.
“We did have one lady who travelled an hour and a half to see him and said, ‘I believe he’d be a terrific dog for our family,’” LaBonty said. “It was also a nice home for him because it was out in the country with a fenced yard and a family with children.” It was the ideal situation.”
But things didn’t go as planned when DAWG workers drove Bear to the family’s home for an official meet-and-greet.
“The kids concluded he wasn’t for them,” LaBonty explained. “They were looking for a different dog.”
According to LaBonty, Bear became quite despondent.
“He didn’t want to get back in the car and drive back to his house,” she explained.
The DAWG volunteers, on the other hand, refused to give up on Bear. They transported him to the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelter event in Michigan in April, along with numerous other animals.
With the exception of Bear, every animal from DAWG was adopted at that event.
“When he returned to the shelter, I snapped a picture of him,” LaBonty explained. “Because it was such a sad photo, it went viral.” He was adamant about not returning to the kennel. “I’ll take him, I’ll take him, I’ll take him,” a number of people said, but 99 percent of those who said it didn’t mean it.”
Bear’s rejection cycle, though, was far from ended.
Another woman contacted DAWG after viewing Bear’s photo on Facebook.
“She began commenting on our Facebook page, saying things like, ‘I’ll take him, I’ll take him,’ and ‘What’s up?’ ‘How come he hasn’t been adopted?’ According to LaBonty. “So she applied and we scheduled a meet-and-greet for her to come out to the kennel and see him, but she never showed up.”
Bear has spent more than two and a half years at the DAWG shelter.
“He’s depressed in the kennel, as most dogs are,” LaBonty added, “particularly after two years in a kennel.” “He has an outside run, so he can go in and out, but they tend to become really unhappy after two years of gazing at the same wall over and over again.”
She said, “He mostly simply sleeps on his bed with his head down.”
Despite all of Bear’s setbacks, LaBonty is optimistic that he will find a home.