It’s truly a heartbreaking statistic. According to the ASPCA, roughly 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized every year in the United States alone.
The reason? They were unable to find a permanent home.
Many of these shelter pets struggle with daily sensory overload due to a constant torrent of unfamiliar sights, scents and sounds. This can produce shy, skittish behavior that masks their lovable personalities when potential adopters come calling.
But one Staffordshire terrier has gone joyously viral across social media this holiday season. This former shelter resident is named Roxy.
Roxy spent eight solid years living in kennels. She’d actually become quite a staff favorite at Teckels animal sanctuary in Whitminster, Gloucestershire in England.
Fox News reports that the Teckels animal care team would introduce games designed to keep this super-smart pooch engaged. Volunteers were stunned at how quickly she mastered each one.
And then one day, dog groomer Leanne Wenban and her partner Sam Green came across this cute canine online. “We saw her on the Teckels website, and we saw that she had been at the kennels for a long time,” Wenban said.
Gloucester Live explained that Wenban and Green had been considering a move to a two-bedroom rental property in the area. But once they decided to adopt Roxy, they wound up settling on slightly larger digs.
After spending so long at the shelter, however, Roxy wasn’t quite ready for her very own residence right away. She needed extra time to adjust to all that focused human attention and TLC.
“We thought that we would see how it goes, and it took around six months to get to where we are now,” Wenban explained. “At first she ignored us, but we went up to see her every Thursday and Sunday.”
Gloucester Live also reported that the couple went above and beyond to help Roxy feel comfortable and safe. “At first we would sit in the cage with her,” Wenban said, “and then eventually we were able to walk and cuddle her.”
Helpful Teckels volunteers made things as easy as possible for Wenban and Green. “After a while they did not have to supervise us being with her when we were making our visits,” Wenban noted. “We were able to just sign in and go to see her.”
Gradually, Roxy began going home with the couple on visits. She finally moved in permanently toward the end of November.
Due to Roxy’s keen intelligence, Wenban now gives the pup treat games to help keep her mind occupied. “She is very clever,” the proud pooch parent explained. “She works them out in minutes, and we have to mix the games up each day as she remembers and figures out where the treats are.”
Roxy is also getting used to the peace and quiet of a residential home. “She loves to be tucked up into her blanket,” Wenban now says. “She also has her own bedroom, which is like a small child’s bed.”
And recently, the group celebrated their very first Christmas together as a family of three. Roxy was sprawled out contentedly amidst her very own tennis balls and toys.
After such a long and uncertain journey, Wenban said, “now she knows that she is home.”
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