What Shelter Dogs Know About Love


Few things are as cute as a puppy. In fact, they are so lovable, there is an entire day – National Puppy Day – dedicated to the little fur babies on March 23. The day is set aside, in part, to remind people to adopt shelter puppies, especially given the prevalence of puppy mills. In reality, however, it is not puppies that have the toughest time in shelters.

At a shelter, puppies are the first to be adopted. Adult dogs are a different story. If Champ and Wally could talk, they could tell you countless stories about being looked over by Humane Society of Genesee County (HSGC) visitors. These two fellas have spent roughly two years at the shelter, desperately waiting for fur-ever homes.



I featured Champ in my November 2023 column. He suffered a serious knee injury and had surgery over the summer of ‘23 to repair it. Champ has made the rounds as an ambassador for the HSGC, winning over event attendees with his charm and easygoing disposition. He has even been adopted more than once, only to be returned to the shelter. Champ was last returned to the shelter in February of 2023. He’s been there ever since, despite being a good boy, loved by shelter staff and volunteers. Each day, he sits in his kennel watching people walk by, hoping someone will stop and see something in those eyes that they simply cannot walk away from.

Wally has been at the HSGC for nearly two years, arriving as a cruelty case covered in sores and full of fear. Slowly, day by day, shelter staff and volunteers have watched this sweet boy come out of his shell. The trouble is, Wally is still shy and a little fearful when strangers on the hunt for a new best friend pass by his kennel. He can be a bit of a wallflower – until you get to know him.



Two very different dogs. Two different stories. The same heartbreaking reality: until someone stops and takes the time to see that they are worth adopting, these two fellas will live in kennels at the shelter. The HSGC qualifies as a no-kill facility; the policy is to get each animal that enters the shelter adopted, no matter how long or what it takes.

Usually, when I mention one of the shelter long-timers to a friend or acquaintance, their first question is, “What is wrong with the dog?”

What is wrong with any of us, really? I have yet to meet anyone who qualifies as perfect. We are all flawed and a little broken in some way. If we weren’t, there would be no need for unconditional love – something dogs know how to give better than any other creature.

If you want to learn more about Wally, Champ, or any of the sweet animals at the Humane Society of Genesee County, visit geneseehumane.org.


Leave A Reply