Animal shelters are meant to serve as temporary places for homeless pets. Shelters keep pets safe and provide them with care, but they're not supposed to be long-term solutions and can be stressful places for pets to be.
Meet Sugar, a 9-year-old American bulldog mix. Sugar has lived at the Humane Society of Greater Miami animal shelter for seven and-a-half years. In fact, she's spent so much time at the shelter that she seems to think of it as home. Sugar is somewhat famous among volunteers and staff, and some volunteers come in just to spend time with her.
When Sugar first arrived at the shelter in May 2011, no one anticipated that her stay would be quite as long as it turned out. She was just a 1-year-old puppy at the time and had been given to her family as a gift. But when the family didn't have time for Sugar, they surrendered her.
Sugar's initial stay at the shelter was brief, and she was adopted within two months. But in June 2012, Sugar was returned because her owners were having landlord issues and weren't allowed to keep her.
Back for a second time, Sugar was adopted the very next day. And things seemed to go well initially. But then, three and-a-half years later, Sugar was returned to the shelter once more.
Sugar's family explained that they no longer had a home, so they needed to surrender Sugar.
This time, Sugar's stay at the shelter was much longer. She lived at the shelter for two years but was adopted in July 2017 for a third time. Unfortunately, Sugar was returned again just three months later.
The reason Sugar was returned once more? Her owner said that she needed too much attention.
Whereas some dogs would be devastated or stressed by repeated returns to the shelter, Sugar seemed to take things in stride.
Upon being returned for a third time, Sugar walked into the shelter as if the whole situation were normal. She was greeted enthusiastically by everyone at the shelter, and she wagged her tail in return.
Life at the shelter is, essentially, what Sugar has known for most of her life. She's taken mini vacations away, yet has always been returned to the same place.
Although it's certainly a good thing that Sugar isn't alarmed or stressed at being in the shelter, everyone wishes she could find a long-term home.
Sugar is, as her name describes, sweet. She wags her tail and wiggles her butt when people walk by her kennel, and she'll immediately grab her Kong toy if she thinks that someone is willing to play.
Sugar is also quite attractive, with a light cream and white coat. But many adopters overlook that beauty and see only her breed. Though Sugar is an American bulldog mix, many people view her as a pit bull, a banned breed in Florida's Miami-Dade County.
The ban can make people more hesitant to adopt bully breeds, and that isn't working in Sugar's favor.
It would be ideal for Sugar to find a local home, but the shelter staff are also willing to send her to somewhere else. Of course, they have to know that the home is right for Sugar before they send her away.
Sugar needs to be the only animal in the home, and she would love one where she's able to run around outside. Once she gets some energy out, though, she's perfectly content to cuddle.
After seven years, this sweet dog most certainly deserves a home where she'll be loved unconditionally. If you're interested in Sugar, please contact the Humane Society of Greater Miami.