Anxious Dog Finds His “Happy Place” Thanks To This Kind Shelter Volunteer.

two-photo collage. on the left there is a picture of starsky, and on the right there is a picture of starsky inside his princess tent.

Volunteering or fostering at an animal shelter is an incredibly tough yet rewarding experience.

Shelter workers are often the first and only kind people in an abused or stray dog’s life. For dogs like Starsky, whose brother Hutch was adopted without him, volunteers are the closest thing he has to family. Starsky has lived at I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven in Warren, Michigan since 2020.

Life in a noisy animal shelter is less than optimal for dogs. Over time, Starsky has developed anxiety and negative habits like jumping on visitors and barking at everything. Potential adopters are scared off by his tough boy good looks, and they don’t feel prepared to take on a dog with special social needs. Not only that, but even seasoned shelter workers started to worry he’d hurt them.

Eventually, he was moved to a more isolated kennel, but even then he was constantly nervous about every little sound and movement. Thankfully, Starsky has one very special ally in volunteer Megan Synk.

“I just love the guy,” Megan said.

Starsky is working with a dog trainer to help alleviate some of his issues, but it was Megan who came up with an ingenious way to soothe him when he’s in his kennel. She went to the store and bought him a tent, but not just any tent – a pretty pink princess tent!

“I set it up and put a brand new toy in there and a bunch of treats,” Megan said. “When I saw him go in there and lay down and chew his toy and kind of be able to hide from the world, it felt really good.”

The tent provided just enough privacy to let the stressed-out 2-year-old dog relax. When he started chewing on the tent poles, Megan went and bought him another tent that doesn’t need poles.

Shelter workers realized that Megan was onto something. What if they gave all of the stressed out dogs living in the shelter a safe space to hide out? They put out a request for kids’ tents on Facebook, and the donations started arriving right away.

“Starsky really feels the love!! THANK YOU!!” they wrote on Facebook. “Tents have been pouring in! And where tents don’t fit, we are making little doggy fortresses with sheets. Starsky upgraded to his very own travel carrier too!! It’s a little sturdier and provides more audio barriers for him which helps his stress levels tremendously. We’ve got a lot of happy and safe dogs here and we can’t thank you all enough for sending them our way!!”

Starsky and Megan sure started a great trend! This is an adorable yet practical idea. We hope the perfect person sees this story and decides to welcome Starsky into their home and heart. Every dog deserves a to have their very own human!

Share this story to tell the world about Starsky and his princess tent.

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