Dog Stuck In Shelter For 2,381 Days Never Gave Up Hope

"I’m here to take Higgins home.”

“Why don’t you just put him to sleep?”

That was the refrain Leslie Renner, the executive director of The Humane Society of Preble County in Ohio, heard time and again when the subject of Higgins came up. The shelter’s long-term resident had spent almost his entire life behind kennel bars — but Renner wasn’t ready to give up on the senior German shepherd.

More importantly, Higgins didn’t want to give up on finding a home either.

Humane Society of Preble County

Higgins came to the shelter as a young puppy, where he was adopted immediately. However, life in his first home was far from ideal. In 2012, Higgins found his way back to the shelter.

“We heard he was nothing more than a dog chained up to a dog house,” Renner told The Dodo. “About a year later, someone walked in with a stray dog — and it was him.”

“Nobody ever came looking for him,” she added, “nobody ever cared.”

Higgins in the Ohio shelter for six years
Facebook/Bonnie N Ty

Higgins was most at ease without other animals around, which limited his pool of potential adopters. Renner knew she just had to be patient until the right person came along, but again and again, Higgins was passed over.

“People are looking for puppies or dogs that are 6 months old,” Renner said. “When he came back he was a year old, and then two and then three.”

After so long in the shelter, potential adopters assumed there was something wrong with Higgins. Why else would he still be there year after year?

“His face always had such a worried look on it that he was a little intimidating when he was in his kennel,” Renner said. “People just walked past him.”

Higgins the German shepherd stuck in a shelter
Facebook/Humane Society of Preble County

Then, on Higgin’s 2,381 day in the shelter, Brendon Reed walked in and said, “I’m here to take Higgins home.”

Renner was shocked.

Higgins finally gets adopted after six years
Facebook/Humane Society of Preble County

The 22-year-old had just bought his first home, and after seeing Higgin’s photo online and hearing his story, Reed knew Higgins was the only dog for him. “He was just a beautiful dog,” Reed told The Dodo. “He just seemed so cute … I don’t know how he didn’t get adopted.”

Higgins the dog with his new owner
Brendon Reed

After six and a half years, Higgins is finally enjoying sleeping on the couch, watching TV, running around his own backyard and rolling in the grass.

Far from the stresses of shelter life, Higgins is learning what it means to have a dad who loves him, and who makes him feel safe and wanted every day.

Brendon Reed

“He is just so happy, it’s kind of crazy,” Reed said. “He just likes to chillax.”

To learn more about Higgin's journey, you can follow him on Snapchat @higginsdoggo.