Samantha Dominis was cleaning out an old file cabinet when she stumbled on a letter.
It was in the file for a dog named Roofus, who’d arrived at the Bishop Animal Shelter, in Bradenton, Florida, six years earlier. The 10-year-old dog had been there ever since—adored by staff and volunteers, but overlooked by potential adopters.
The heartbreaking letter was told from Roofus’ point of view, and described the unbearably sad circumstances of his surrender. It had been given to the shelter, along with Roofus himself, in 2010:
My name is Roofus.
My family loves me very much but they have fallen on hard times. My daddy lost his job a year ago and can’t find a new one. My mommy tells me they have to downsize to a smaller apartment and can’t afford to keep me.
I will miss my two-legged siblings so much. They keep crying and hugging me, begging mommy and daddy not to take me back to the shelter. I remember being at the shelter before. Your staff is very kind and nothing compares to a family.
My family is very sad to give me back to Bishop but they know you’ll find me a new family that will love me just as much. They’re including my bed and favorite toys. Please find me a good home.
“I read that letter at least a dozen times and cried every time I read it,” says Dominis, the shelter’s spokesperson.
And then she realized: this letter could be Roofus’ “golden ticket to being adopted.”
The shelter called local TV station WFLA, which aired a report on Friday last week.
Karen Duffy saw the story. Roofus “tugged at my heart,” Duffy tells BarkPost.
She and her husband had lost their two rescue dogs to old age. Duffy couldn’t stop thinking about Roofus, she “kept feeling the rightness.”
On Saturday morning Duffy called the shelter, to see if Roofus was still there. He was.
Duffy decided to drive the hour and a half from her home to meet him.
“I took a leash with me,” she says.
Roofus had a good life at the shelter. He got walks, and belly scratches, and presents.
But Dominis says it wasn’t all that Roofus deserved. She feels relieved, knowing after all this time, Roofus is out of the shelter and home with his new family.
“He’s so gentle and loving and we know he’s in good hands,” she says. “Roofus may have only a few years left but those are going to be the best few years of his life. He’s going to know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.”
After that time of not being noticed, now Roofus has a whole fan club. Since the WFLA story ran, folks have been calling about Roofus, coming by the shelter asking to see him.
Bishop Animal Shelter staff and volunteers now hope that other long-timers and older dogs could catch some of that interest, and get adopted themselves—like this spunky 11-year-old Pit Bull named Mia, who loves to play and swim (but isn’t so great with other critters, so should go to a home where she’ll be the only pet).
“All dogs deserve a second chance. It shouldn’t be held against them that it didn’t work out with their first owners. Their perfect match is out there,” says Dominis.
Duffy says Roofus has been settling in great. He’s energetic but well-behaved. He likes going for long walks, and follows his people around the house when he isn’t napping on his new cushy dog bed.
Roofus hasn’t quite figured out the doggie door yet that’ll let him go out into the fenced backyard any old time he wants. But Roofus is a smart boy, and he’ll get it eventually. There’s no rush.
“We’ll keep practicing,” says Duffy. “I really don’t know why someone hasn’t taken him in before.”
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