When one woman found a dumped crate outside an animal shelter, she immediately became concerned. And as she came nearer to the cage, what she saw confirmed her worst fears – because crammed inside the box was an abandoned animal.
Henry County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter in Geneseo, Illinois. In fact, the organization’s main mission is to find loving forever homes for the animals that come into its care. It also educates the public about the responsibilities that come with animal ownership.
Unsurprisingly, then, animals arrive at the shelter in all manner of ways. Volunteers no doubt find some of them roaming the streets, for example, while others may have been extracted from abusive environments. Indeed, some cases are particularly heartbreaking.
For instance, in March 2017 one of the organization’s volunteer dog walkers was passing a new part of the shelter that was under construction. That’s when they noticed something unusual. There, amid the construction site, was a small cage.
As the volunteer came closer to the cage, she realized that there was something crammed inside, and upon further inspection, she found that it was a dog. However, there was no way of knowing how long the animal had been there.
As a result, the volunteer rushed to the dog’s aid – and noticed a note beside the animal. Reading the first line alone simply broke the woman’s heart. “Hi, my name is Buddy,” the letter read.
“I have all my shots, I took flea medication today,” the note continued. “I have outgrown the apartment I live in and need a new home with a big yard to run in and [I] am amazing with children.”
The letter further suggested that Buddy’s owner had looked after him well before dumping him. “It is very hard for me to leave a home where I am very loved and cherished,” it read. “But I hope I can bring joy to my new family.”
However, despite his owner’s attempts to justify their actions, shelter manager Tracy Diehl condemned their decision to abandon Buddy. “They claim he’s had his shots, but we just don’t know,” she told the Geneseo Republic in May 2017.
“Even if they’d crossed out their name and left his medical records, we’d have more information. Now we’re left with no history,” she added. “When they abandoned him, they did Buddy a huge injustice. He was crammed into a little cage and scared to death.”
Moreover, it is illegal to abandon an animal in the state of Illinois. As a result, the Henry County Humane Society has procedures in place for people to legally surrender their pets. “We will take the animal if we have space. If we don’t, we’ll put it on a waiting list for when we do have space,” Diehl explained.
Usually, there’s a $50 charge for people surrendering their pets. This covers any veterinary expenses during the animal’s time at the shelter. However, the shelter can drop this fee if owners can’t afford it. After all, the most important thing is that the animal is transferred safely and securely.
Since the shelter staff didn’t have access to Buddy’s medical records, then, they didn’t know what his needs were. As a result, they took to social media to campaign for his owners to come forward. And it didn’t take long for the internet to fall in love with the labradoodle’s adorable face.
Consequently, Buddy received so many adoption offers that the shelter had to ask people to stop enquiring. “We will not be accepting any more adoption applications for Buddy. We have a lot of wonderful applications to choose from now,” a Facebook post announced just days after the dog was discovered.
“As you have seen by now, Buddy the labradoodle is quite the star. For the wrong reasons of course, but a star just the same,” another post added. Moreover, the shelter was keen to use Buddy’s celebrity to raise awareness of the other animals in its care.
“While the excitement of saving that labradoodle’s life is at full steam, maybe those who do not get him will take a moment to check out the others,” the statement continued. “Listen to their stories. And find that those other dogs are souls searching as well.”
So, after sifting through dozens of adoption applications, shelter staff eventually found Buddy the perfect home. And his new family already owned a dog, so Buddy would get his very own brother. They also had a large yard where the animals could play together.
Moreover, Diehl was certain Buddy would make the perfect pet. “He is such a good dog – he knows how to sit, stay and shake hands,” she told The Dodo in June 2017. “He was not abused, he’s in great health, though he will need a trim, as the trim they gave him is really uneven.”
Buddy may have now left the shelter, but his legacy will live on there. After his adoption, Diehl revealed they would be naming a new yard after him. “Considering how he was crammed in a very small space, we want to name the dog yard after him so that the dogs will always have a space to run and stretch their legs,” she explained.
So although there’s no condoning what Buddy’s previous owners did, at least there were some positive outcomes to his story. Not only did the dog find a loving forever home, but the publicity the Henry County Humane Society gained thanks to him will also help more pooches do the same.