A rescue dog was left wondering if she would ever find a forever home after going four months at a shelter without being adopted.
In a heartbreaking video shared to TikTok by the Humane Society of Broward County in Florida, Bella the bulldog, 3, can be seen staring off into the distance with the caption explaining how she was “losing hope” of finding a home.
“Beautiful Bella is usually one of our happiest, most social dogs, but after 4 months of waiting to be adopted, she’s starting to shut-down,” it reads.
In the case of Bella, staff were at a loss to explain why she hadn’t found a forever home, with Susan Leonti from the shelter describing her as being “full of happy energy.”
“All of the staff and volunteers love her,” Leonti told Newsweek.
“Bella loves getting attention from us and has so much fun going on her walks,” Leonti said. “She enjoys playing in the kiddie pool and being with the children in our summer camp.”
Bella isn’t the only dog being overlooked. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 3.1 million dogs are surrendered to animal shelters in the U.S. each year, but only 2 million are adopted over the same period.
The decision to adopt a dog can often be based on just a few minutes of interaction, much of which doesn’t offer a full picture of what a canine could be like. This was highlighted in a 2014 study from Applied Animal Behavior Science which examined the adopter-dog interactions at shelters across the U.S.
The study found that the majority of shelter visitors tend to only interact with a single dog during their time there and that these interactions last for an average of just eight minutes. Two key factors were found to influence an adopter’s decision-making: whether the dog lay in close proximity to them and if they attempted to initiate play.
Bella’s joy for life is made all the more remarkable considering the hardship she has already faced, having been given up by her previous owner. “Bella was brought to our shelter because the landlord at her former home said no to bulldog breeds,” Leonti said.
Though she may not have been welcome there, it was an entirely different story at the shelter, were Bella fast emerged as a real character.
Given her reputation for raising smiles, staff were understandably concerned when Bella began to cut a forlorn figure in the shelter, so they decided to take action. By posting the video of Bella appearing dejected to TikTok, staff hoped to get a response—and they did.
At the time of writing, the video has been watched 3.7 million times with dog lovers and fellow pet owners flocking to show their love and support for the dejected dog. “Poor sweet baby,” one user wrote while another commented: “I’m balling [sic] my eyes out.” A third said: “If I could I would come and take her,” with a fourth adding: “Hope you find your furever home soon!”
Incredibly, she has done exactly that, with the TikTok viral success ultimately landing Bella a new forever home with what might just be the family of her dreams. Leonti said: “Bella was adopted by a wonderful family that lives near the beach here in southern Florida.”
While other dogs might not be as fortunate as Bella, her story is a reminder of just how much rescue dogs need the love and care of animal enthusiasts out there and also their support through the tough times.
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