It's hard to imagine how difficult it is to be a shelter dog. People may think it's easy because these animals get meals and a roof over their heads, but they are deprived of love and stability. Most of their days must be spent waiting and wondering if life will ever change.
Those who are curious about this experience can see the difficulty of it – as well as the sheer excitement that comes from finally being adopted – in the story of Benny.
At Carson Animal Care Center in Gardena, California, Benny waited for a long time to be adopted while no one came to take him home. The shelter is a high-kill facility, meaning dogs that aren't adopted are likely to be put to sleep. This knowledge makes the idea of waiting to be placed with a family that much sadder.
When Benny's new family came to claim him, though, they could see the confusion mixed with fear and possibly even hope in his eyes. He didn't seem to understand what was happening. Once they took him outside the shelter, however, his demeanor completely changed.
He began to realize he was in a new place, that he was no longer going to have to stay in the shelter. At first, this overwhelmed him, but as he got farther and farther away from the shelter itself, he began to jump for joy.
Benny started smelling everything, barking, jumping up to greet his new owners and completely surrendering to the excitement he felt at finally leaving the shelter.
It was heartwarming to both his new owners and to the shelter worker, who laughed and started to become almost as excited as Benny. His story clearly paints a portrait of a dog freed in more ways than one.