9 min read

Sad Dog Filmed 'Crying' At Shelter Can't Believe How Great New Life Is

“My kids were on the floor with her, and she sat on their laps and knocked them over with kisses.”

The pit bull was crying. At least that’s what it looked like to Sarah Sleime, a volunteer for the Greater Charlotte SPCA.

Sleime was visiting a shelter run by Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control (CMACC) in North Carolina when she came across the crying dog.

Dog with tears in her eyes
Meghan Shelton

“I was waiting for them [the shelter workers] to health check a couple of the dogs we were considering pulling, and I was walking up and down the kennels, and I just saw this pit bull sitting there, and she was very humanlike — slumped over and very solemn,” Sleime told The Dodo. “So I bent over and started talking to her.”

Shelter dog with sad face
Sarah Sleime

Sleime could see that the 7-year-old pit bull had very recently had a litter of puppies, although the puppies weren’t with her now. And when Sleime spoke to her, the dog’s eyes watered with what looked like tears.

Shelter dog's profile on pound's website
Cinnamon's profile on the shelter's website | Sarah Sleime

“It was the craziest phenomenon,” Sleime said.

While it’s not entirely understood if dogs cry the same way as people, Sleime could see that the pit bull, who’d recently been surrendered, was clearly upset. She was also very obese.

Woman hugging shelter dog inside kennel
Sleime spending some time with Cinnamon inside of her kennel | Sarah Sleime

“[The shelter workers] believe she was confined and used as a breeding machine,” Sleime said. “She’s obviously had many, many litters.”

Unfortunately, the Greater Charlotte SPCA wasn’t in a position to pull any big dogs because of a lack of foster homes, but Sleime knew she had to do something to help the pit bull, who was being called Cinnamon at the time. So she got her phone out and shot a video.

“I posted her video on Facebook, and little did I know, it would be viewed like 700,000 times on the first day,” Sleime said.

Messages from people all around the world flooded Sleime’s inbox — countless people wanted to adopt Cinnamon, or help to find her puppies. But it was Sleime’s friend, Meghan Shelton, who would eventually adopt her.

Pit bull dog sitting on top of red box
Sarah Sleime

“I have a special place in my heart for pit bulls,” Shelton told The Dodo. “I think they’re a very misunderstood dog and a misunderstood breed. And when I saw her in that video, literally crying in a cage, I cried. My kids cried. I showed my husband, and he said we could go look at her tomorrow.”

The next morning, several families lined up at the shelter to meet Cinnamon, but Shelton and her family members were the first in line. And when they met Cinnamon, they fell in love.

Shelter dog with large family
Cinnamon (now Rosie) meeting her new family for the first time | Sarah Sleime

“She was super sweet,” Shelton said. “They had brought her into a room to meet with us, and we just let her relax. My kids were on the floor with her, and she sat on their laps and knocked them over with kisses.”

Shelton and her family knew that she was the one, so they filled out the paperwork to adopt Cinnamon, whom they renamed Rosie. After that, Rosie was spayed, and she went to her new forever home the next day.

Little girl petting shelter dog
Sarah Sleime

The Shelton family already had another pit bull — a 3-year-old male named Blu — and they weren’t initially certain how Rosie and Blu would react to each other.

“I had no intention of introducing them for the first couple of days,” Shelton said. “I just wanted her to get used to the home and get used to going for walks outside. So we actually brought her into our bedroom with her crate filled with blankets.”

Two dogs sitting next to each other on the carpet
Meghan Shelton

But Rosie had other plans — she whined at the bedroom door.

“I realized that our male dog was on the other side of the door, and he was doing the same thing,” Shelton said. “So I had the kids put her on a leash, and I got Blu on a leash and we just had them walk outside and meet. It was interesting because you never know how it’s going to go, but they just kind of sat next to each other with tails wagging.”

Dogs sitting together on carpet
Meghan Shelton

Now Rosie and Blu are acting like they’ve known each other for years, according to Shelton. “I’m working at my desk right now and she’s asleep at my feet, and ... [Blu] is on his spot right on the other side of my desk,” she said.

Rosie’s personality is also slowly emerging. “When she gets excited, she snorts like a pig,” Shelton said. “It’s so cute. My girls walked her to the bus stop this morning, and when new kids came down, she snorted at them until they’d come pet her.”

Rescue dog sitting on office chair
Meghan Shelton

The Shelton family has only had Rosie for a couple of days now, but they already can’t imagine life without her.

“It was love at first sight,” Shelton said. “She just kind of pulled at our heartstrings.”

Dog lying on carpet
Meghan Shelton

“I found out that so many people surrendered their pets on Sunday (the day Cinnamon was adopted) in advance of the holiday that CMACC had to euthanize over 30 animals that day,” Sleime said. “Some people surrendered because they were going out of town and didn't want to pay to board their animals. [I’m] so glad we got her out in time."

While Rosie found the perfect family, there are plenty of other shelter animals who need homes — and shelters and rescue groups tend to be overwhelmed with animals during the holiday season. You can search for adoptable dogs and cats on the CMACC website, as well as with the Greater Charlotte SPCA.