Dog rehomed after nine years in shelter by a brilliant couple

NEWS AND OPINION: This is as much about the couple who adopted Humbug as Humbug himself. Humbug is a white-and-black random bred, nervous dog. He looks a bit ordinary by conventional standards and he was apparently too nervous to be adopted for nine years which is remarkable when the average shelter stay for an animal according to the Dogs Trust is around 48 days (still quite a long time).

Ken March and Sandra Rothwell adopt Humbug who was a 9-year resident at an animal shelter in Greater Manchester, UK
Ken March and Sandra Rothwell adopt Humbug who was a 9-year resident at an animal shelter in Greater Manchester, UK. Image: Screenshot from BBC video.
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Humbug is an Akita cross i.e. hybrid or mongrel, but I don’t like that last word. What I do like tremendously is the couple who adopted Humbug. Their names are Ken Marsh and Sandra Rothwell and they’ve adopted seven dogs from the Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, Greater Manchester, UK.

Ken Marsh asked to be shown the dog that had been at the shelter the longest. This is how you adopt shelter dogs and cats πŸ’•. You go for the least attractive to your typical adopter. You see great potential in the animal and you tease out the best in them and you become a great friend. And that’s what happened.

As soon as Sandra and Ken came into the shelter Humbug actually appears to have chosen them. He showed his liking of Ken and Sandra by jumping up and down and giving Ken kisses according to Karen Weed the shelter manager. He sensed something good was about to happen. It seems that Ken and Sandra emitted the correct vibes and Humbug picked them up.

Normally when a dog stays at the shelter for a very long time it is because they are aggressive but, in this instance, it was because Humbug was just too frightened. He lacked confidence. The shelter did all they could to build his confidence by allowing him to spend weekends at a foster carer’s home. This certainly helped.

Unsurprisingly, Humbug was the shelter’s longest standing resident. The staff at the shelter loved him. Karen says that, “He is a big scary-cat and quite scared of the big bad world”.

But when he met Ken and Sandra it was as if it was meant to be. It’s been a big success for all three of them. Ken said that, “He follows me like he’s been with me for years. We are very attached to him. He is loved already.”

Humbug loves to play with his squeaky toys and is a slow walker.

Humbug was one of the UK’s longest-serving shelter animals. Another dog called Monty, a lurcher, has spent at least seven years at Last Chance Animal Rescue in Kent.

Of course, staff at the sanctuary are ecstatic that Humbug has been adopted. Karen added that, “He is such a loyal dog. All our staff and volunteers love him so much. He was such a popular character at Bleakholt and it’s so fantastic when people see the potential in a harder-to-home dog.” The staff knew Humbug was a great dog. It is just that he could not present himself to adopters in an attractive way it seems. Adopters should see through these difficulties, I feel.

There are, rarely, people who adopt the most vulnerable and on the face of it least attractive dog or cat at a shelter. Sometimes they are unattractive because they are very old or because their coat is not one of those desirable colours and patterns.

These people do a great service and they are rewarded. They are always rewarded because they get the best out of the dog. They see the dog’s potential and their character. They are not attracted primarily to the appearance but by the potential and by the animal’s vulnerability and what they can do to help.

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