Ajax as been at the Van Wert County Humane Society Shelter since March 29, 2016. (Photo via Jess Ritchey)
Ajax as been at the Van Wert County Humane Society Shelter since March 29, 2016. (Photo via Jess Ritchey)

VAN WERT – For almost 900 days, Shadow, a female black lab mix has been a resident at the Van Wert County Humane Society Shelter. Shadow, like others, eagerly awaits her forever home. Franki Eggleston, VWCHS Board Member and volunteer, spends much of her time with the dogs at the shelter and said that she’s not giving up on the ones who have been there longest.

“We have had success in getting them the perfect home,” said Eggleston.

Eggleston said she believes in continuing to search for the right person for each dog because she’s seen many success stories.

Recently a hound, Henry, was adopted after nearly a year at the shelter. In February of 2018, The Times Bulletin featured Nadia, a pit bull mix, who had been at the shelter for nearly three years before being adopted. Eggleston also noted other dogs that had found homes after years of waiting.

Currently, Shadow has spent the most days at the shelter consecutively. However, another dog, Ajax, a pit mix, has been at the shelter on and off again since the beginning of 2016. He had been adopted three times, twice by the same person who wasn’t able to care for him.

Ajax is around five years old and can be timid to strangers, said Eggleston.

“He’s a happy-go-lucky guy who wants to be your friend; he wants to please you,” she said. “He loves to go for walks.”

Nibbles, a male boxer, is also among the longest residents at the shelter, having been there since March of 2017.

Nibbles, like all dogs at the shelter, is fixed. He is around seven to eight years old. In his older age, his sight has begun to deteriorate and his hips are starting to cause him trouble. But Nibbles still loves to play, and he enjoys cuddling.

Nibbles cannot go to a home with other animals, and because of his age he would likely do better in an environment without younger children, said Eggleston.

“He’s got special needs; he’s not for everybody, he’s not for every family,” said Eggleston. “Just like people can be a little higher maintenance, some dogs can be a little higher maintenance, and it just takes a little bit longer for either the right person to find them or for us to find the right person.”

Eggleston said many of the dogs just need someone that will take a chance on them and someone that is willing to work with them.

For instance, many overlook Shadow because she is male-aggressive and female dog aggressive.

“The male aggressive could be fixed, or she could get to know somebody,” said Eggleston. “Somebody just needs to take the time to get to know her.”

Eggleston said that despite age or current behavior, most dogs can be trained if people are willing to be patient. When considering adopting a shelter dog, she hopes people understand the commitment that may come with it.

“Make sure you have time to teach the dog, to train the dog, even if a dog is seven years old, they can learn new things,” said Eggleston. “You need to have patience because they may have already learned one thing, so they have to unlearn it and learn something else, but it’s not impossible at all.”

When a person walks through the shelter, often they are given an inaccurate impression of the dogs, who typically bark and jump in their kennels.

“That’s not the true them,” said Eggleston. “You’ve got to get to know them. The dogs feel the same way. You need to take them out; you need to get to know them a little bit. You need to trust when someone at the shelter who knows them says, ‘Give them a chance, this is not how they really are.’”

Eggleston hopes that people looking for a forever dog give the shelter dogs a second chance, as she said the Humane Society has.