23 hunting dogs have been given a well earned retirement after years spent tracking foxes during organized hunts. Although these hunters never killed any foxes and only went through the motions to honor tradition, their dogs were still locked up in small, cramped kennels with barely any interaction with humans, writesThe Dodo.
In May 2017, this situation began to change when a hunting club in Pennsylvania decided to downsize and relocate their hounds. The group's members approachedMain Line Animal Rescue(MLAR) to ask if they would re-home some of their dogs.
The club invited Russ Stewart, the organization's development coordinator, as well as several of his staff members, to come and pick which dogs would get to retire. Russ explained:
We really tried to focus on the older dogs in the group, simply because we figured they were the most at risk. We also wanted to make an effort for these dogs who had been there for five, six or more years. All they had known was the hunt club, and we wanted to give them a shot to get into a home and spend their golden years in a home with a family.
With the support ofThe Grey Muzzle, a group that helps adopt out senior dogs, MLAR managed to save 23 pack members. The organization's volunteers weren't sure whether these dogs, used to being hunters, not family pets, would be able to adapt to life in a home.Luckily, the dogs themselves were quick to adapt to their new lives:
All of the dogs that we brought in seemed to have this immediate realization of, ‘OK, I’m not here for the purpose of doing a job anymore. I’m here to get petted and get treats. They just want me to be a happy dog.’
One of the happy canines, Defender, got used to his new life immensely well. Overweight when he arrived at The Grey Muzzle, he quickly got back into shape, before getting the most beautiful of gifts. A family, looking to adopt a puppy after the death of their old pet, visited the shelter. To Russ's delight, however, the family's 2 girls didn't connect with any of the puppies there and instead fell in love with Defender, taking him home soon after.
Another dog, Bookman, also went home with another family after working his charms with the family's children. Russ keeps in contact with the family, regularly receiving photos of Bookman's happily ever after.
In the end, all 23 dogs found happy homes with loving families. Russ Stewart now only hopes for one thing; that more hunting clubs will decide to let their dogs retire and go to new homes, where they can live out their lives as beloved pets.
You can support MLAR's work byclicking here and making a donation.
H/t: The Dodo
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