Dogs - they're man's best friends, lifetime companions, members of the family, and so much more. Nearly 55 million households in the United States alone count at least one canine as a member of the family. Sadly, though, there are many more pups out there who don't have a family or home to call their own. Of the approximately 7.6 million companion animals that find themselves in shelters each year, over half (3.9 million) are dogs. This staggering number shows just how important it is to spay or neuter your pets, as it's one of the most effective methods of combatting pet homelessness and overpopulation.
Luckily for about half of the dogs that enter shelters, people are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of adopting a rescued pup. By adopting rather than buying, you'll save a life, as well as money because of the low adoption fees offered by many shelters. You'll also help change the problem of pet homelessness and fight against the cruel "puppy mills" that supply many pet stores with their dogs. Sadly for the other half of shelter dogs (the ones who aren't adopted), their fate is decidedly gloomy, but hope isn't completely extinguished. There are still people and organizations out there that pull pups from shelters at the last minute and keep them in no-kill shelters until someone adopts them.
That's what happened to sweet Chester here. The pit bull was brought to the good people at the North Fork Animal Welfare League in New York when he was just a year old.
Somehow, this adorable guy didn't get snapped up straight away. In fact, five years after arriving at North Fork, Chester was still waiting for a forever family. Then, someone at NFAWL had an idea - a sign! They simply wrote down his story and his name, put contact info on the bottom, and put the image on Facebook. They thought someone might see him, but they didn't expect the response they got: nearly 3,000 shares!
The thousands of shares got a big response, too! The staff at NFAWL were inundated with people who saw Chester and his sign and wanted to bring him home with them. Gabby Stroup, the manager of NFAWL, was amazed, saying, "The phone just never stopped. People called from Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Nova Scotia, Australia, and more."
One of those inquirers was Dana Dor. She found out about Chester when a friend shared the picture on Facebook, and she immediately got on the phone. After talking to Stroup, Dor, her husband Adi, and their sons, Aidan and Brandon, drove the hour-long route from their home to the shelter where Chester was living. "They came and met him and it [was] just a perfect match," according to Stroup.
The next day, after a teary goodbye from the shelter's volunteers, Chester headed home with his new family.
Since then, Chester has been living the good life. He's become an integral fifth member of the Dors family; he even got his own Easter basket!
He's not taking anything for granted, either. The same loving, happy pup that made the best of things at the shelter is living it up in his forever home. He's enjoying playing outside and being with his new family.
And rolling in the leaves? He's got that down pat!
Most importantly, he's taking all the cuddles he can get ... and the Dors are more than happy to supply them.
Best of all, Chester didn't just get a new family of four ... he's made his way into the hearts of a giant extended family, too.
But as happy as Chester's new life is, he's not content to just sit around, living on easy street. He remembers those long five years in the shelter without a family to love, and he doesn't want any other pups to experience that. That's why his Facebook page, with over 13,000 likes, is still being used to share photos of pups awaiting adoption with signs of their own. Fiona, for instance, wants a happy ending, too!
Or how about Roxy? Poor Roxy had a rough start in life, but she was rescued by the folks at NFAWL. She still hasn't found a family of her own, however, and she desperately wants to change that. Maybe you can help Chester's friends find the family they're supposed to be a part of?
Sharing something on Facebook is such a small thing and takes practically no time at all, but it can have a big impact. Just look at all these sweet pups. They've each been able to find a family to love them through the power of sharing.
Don't forget to SHARE these adorable pups with friends and family!