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2020's Long Term Resident: Dollar

Posted By SLCo Animal Services
January 14, 2021

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We are sure you have seen the term “Longest Term Resident” posted before when referring to an animal in a shelter. While some animals find new homes quickly, others sit and wait for their turn for months. This does happen from time to time at Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Each animal at the facility, no matter their length of stay, is provided daily enrichments, time outside (for dogs), music, oils, lights out hour (for quiet napping) and time to hang out with staff and volunteers. Enrichments for the dogs rotate daily from a frozen Kong, toys toys in their kennel, a food puzzle, a Nyla bone, etc. The cats receive lick mats, toys, and lots of treats. Each day both dogs and cats have a music hour, diffused oils and more.

These are essential components to help the animals in our care and are meant to provide enrichment short term while they are with us, but what happens when you have a “Long Term Resident” one that ends up being in the shelter for months, how do you help keep their minds active, and help them thrive in the kennel they call “home.”

Dollars' Story

This is the story of Dollar; he is one of many that have become “Long Term Residents” at the shelter. Dollar was found as a stray and brought into our facility March 17th, 2020, literally the week the world shut down. Dollar was scanned and had a microchip. We called the microchip company and the people had moved and changed numbers and did not update any of their information. We had hit a dead end. Dollar waited through the 7-day stray wait period and no one came in to redeem him, so Dollar was assessed and placed up for adoption.

Dollar was very young and handsome and seemed like a candidate for a quick adoption. This was not the case for Dollar, he became a “Long Term Shelter Resident” beginning his strange journey to his forever home.

Dollar was young and in need of manners and did not have great skills with other dogs in the shelter when we first met him. It was the first of the pandemic and staff was focused on trying to place dogs into foster homes as we were not sure what adoptions would like in the coming months. Dollar was one of over 88 animals that was lucky enough to find a foster home.

Dollar’s foster home invested a lot of time and energy into working with him and teaching him better manners and within a couple of months had decided to adopt him. Unfortunately, this is not were the story ends. His adopter had bought a new house and on either side were dogs and people who had breed bias, Dollar is a Staffordshire Terrier (AKA: a “Pit Bull”) after much consideration and knowing that the odds may largely be stacked against them in their new neighborhood, they returned Dollar.

Dollar then waited and waited for someone to make him a part of their family.

While Dollar waited, he was growing up in the shelter and the staff became his family and as such began teaching and training Dollar. Dollar needed daily enrichments to help him work his mind and keep him busy. Staff members created a training plan for him to help him learn how to walk on a Halti properly, basic manners and to be muzzle trained.  He excelled with all his training and high fives were his favorite command to give.

Dollar had been advertised on social media many times and had developed a fan club of sorts, people who loved him and wanted to see him succeed but unfortunately could not adopt him themselves. Just like many times before we listed Dollar on social media, but this time let people know that Dollar had been in the shelter nearly 200 days and that was far too long to live in the shelter. This day, this post, it went VIRAL! It was all over the internet. Over 3.000 shares. One of the shares went onto a page of a person who stepped forward and claimed to be Dollars owner after 7 months in the shelter. 

Remember we told you he was microchipped? They never updated their information when they moved so we were never able to contact them and let them know he had ended up at the shelter.

After 7 months and very long conversations, Dollar was heading home. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. After 3 weeks back in the care of his previous owners they contacted us and said they were not capable of taking care of Dollar and wanted to return him. While we were very sad to hear this, we were grateful that they had reached out to us.

Dollar was a part of our family and we had grown to love him and had invested a lot of time and training into him.  Once again Dollar was looking for a home that could meet his needs and want to make him a part of their life.  After all he had been through, we had to become very strict about the person who would come in to meet him.

Poor Dollar had become a “Long Term Resident” and had a lot of cards stacked against him for adoption. He was not the perfect fit into any home, and that is sometimes very hard for people to understand, and for adopters to understand why it is that organizations have the rules they do. As an organization we always want what is the best for the animals in our care and the potential adopters who will be welcoming them into their family. We knew that Dollar’s time would come, he would find that perfect fit. In the meantime, we continued our trainings with him. 

On December 4th, 2020, Dollar met his person, the one who took to heart each thing we knew about Dollar, the one who understood he is a great boy who will still need structure, training, and dedication, the one who came in and fell in love with Dollar and all he had to give. 262 days after he first came into the shelter, Dollar found his forever home. We have received updates and his new dad loves him, is committed to continued Dollar’s training and we are happy to see that he is succeeding in his new home.

Long Term Shelter residents are not always common to find in a shelter, but it does happen and thanks to dedicated staff, volunteers, and a supportive community, it’s why dogs like Dollar have a happy ending.

If you would like to learn more about our enrichment program and the items needed please look at our wish list.

If you are interested in volunteering please email: animalvolunteer@slco.org for more information

If you are interested in fostering please email fosters@slco.org for more information

If you are interested in adopting, please visit our Adoptable Pets page to see our available animals.