Shelter Dog Tucked Himself In Every Night As He Waited For A Family
He was about to get the best surprise.
Everything changed for a senior Chihuahua named Scooter when his person passed away.
Suddenly, instead of being at the home he'd known for years, he was in a shelter for homeless animals.
To comfort himself, Scooter pulled up a dark blue blanket with white stars over his little body, tucking himself in.
Only Scooter's worried little face and his pointed ears, standing up sharply at attention, stuck out of the little bundle he'd made for himself.
Even though they saw how sweet and handsome the little guy was, shelter staff had doubts about whether Scooter would gain very much interest from potential adopters.
"Scooter was 12 years old and had an old hip injury," Jan Nageldinger, shelter manager at the Humane Society of Branch County, a no-kill shelter in Michigan, told The Dodo. She explained that she had thought Scooter might even have to live the rest of his life at the shelter. "But we had the space ... We never turn them away."
But when the shelter shared the photo of Scooter under his blue blanket, everything changed.
People from all around the world started writing to the shelter offering to give the poor pup a home. Jessica Lynn Howard, who had adopted two other Chihuahuas from the shelter in the past, was one of those people.
"I saw Jan’s Facebook post, along with the rest of the world," Howard told The Dodo. "My husband Tim and I were lying in bed and it ... brought me to tears. Without hesitation I showed Tim and I said, 'I have to go get him.'"
Tim didn't have to think about it for more than a second: "Go get him," he said.
First thing the next morning, Howard got in the car and drove three hours to the shelter to pick up Scooter and bring him home.
"When we arrived home Scooter met his new pack and family immediately," Howard said. "It was amazing, everyone greeted him as if he was a long-lost friend of theirs; they truly acted as if he had always been here."
The Howards live on a big farm so they can easily accommodate their pack of six dogs, including Scooter.
"We have Jax (formally known as Nemo), a Chihuahua we adopted from Branch County, Hank (formally known as Little Henry), a Chihuahua/heeler mix we also adopted from Branch County, BabyFace, another Chihuahua that belonged to my husband before we were married, and two heelers, Spur and Waylon," Howard said.
Since arriving at his happy new home, Scooter's personality has really started to shine.
"He is super funny and acts goofy. He plays around like he’s a 2-year-old sometimes," Howard said. But he's also "all about taking naps — with his blankie, of course. He absolutely loves my husband Tim and our son Braden. Our daughter Dalanie has a soft spot for him, too. He is beyond loved and maybe a little spoiled, too."
Scooter still loves his unique bedtime routine.
"When it’s bedtime ... he still 'tucks himself in,'" Howard said. "I’ve tried to tuck him in but he would rather do it himself. He has to get the covers just right. It’s really cute watching him."
Scooter's happy adoption story also inspired many other people to give senior pets a chance.
"The good thing that came from this story was that people from ... Italy, Puerto Rico, Canada and many, many, many states across the U.S. contacted us ... willing to take in Scooter," Nageldinger said. "When Scooter had been adopted many of these people said that they were going to go to their local shelter and adopt a senior dog. So Scooter not only saved himself; I really believe that he saved the lives of other dogs all across the U.S. with his story."
Howard hopes that Scooter's story will continue to shine a spotlight on all the other senior pets out there who need homes, but who are too often overlooked.
"That picture [of Scooter in the shelter tucking himself in] represented all the millions of animals awaiting homes in shelters everywhere," Howard said. "Scooter, lying there on that cot, was once someone’s beloved pet."
"If Scooter’s story can help inspire someone to adopt or to donate to the Humane Society of Branch County or their local shelter," Howard added, "it shows what one little senior dog can do. He moved an entire world with just a single post! That is beyond amazing."