For 2,461 days Sandi lived in a cage at the Marion-Grant County Humane Society in Indiana.
Employees and volunteers have come and gone over the years, but no one had been there as long as Sandi. In fact, no one can even remember the circumstances that landed the pit bull-boxer mix at the shelter in the first place. All they knew about her was that she was sweet as pie yet never seemed to find “the one.”
Shelter workers never gave up hope that someone would come along and recognize Sandi as the wonderful, sweet companion animal that she is. And after 6+ years, the right people finally appeared.
Erin and Cary Rhodes frequently support the shelter through volunteering and donations. After their dog passed away their thoughts turned to getting another dog, and they immediately thought of Sandi. “Their dog passed away and [Erin] kept calling me and she said ‘I really just can’t keep my mind off of Sandi,'” said Christy, an employee of the shelter.
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The shelter workers were thrilled that such a loving dog family had decided to take Sandi home! They usually share “going home” photos of the adopted dogs on Facebook, but for Sandi they made the occasion even more special. Sandi wore a tiny crown and stepped out for her “freedom walk” onto a red carpet, where press and her adoring fans waited to capture the moment on film.
“It was a big celebration,” Christy said. “We did this one more special than normal because she had been there so long.”
After the shelter shared video of Sandi’s freedom walk on Facebook, the clip went viral and inspired a flurry of inquiries and adoptions for other dogs. The moment people saw Sandi happily walking to her new owners’ car people felt compelled to make sure no other dog would ever have to spend half their life waiting at a shelter for someone to love them.
“This is why we didn’t give up on her. We knew she would find her forever home sometime. And it’s OK if it takes a little time to find her the right home. Then we don’t have to worry about her coming back or anything bad happening to her,” Christy said. “She kind of ran the place. She’s kind of the boss.” (It looks like her new owners recognize this fact, too.)
Welcome home, Sandi! It is heartbreaking to think that there are animals who spend this much time in shelters, but we’re so thankful for the people who volunteer, foster, and adopt these deserving pets. Let’s all remember Sandi’s story (and her sweet face!) next time we’re thinking of adding to our packs.
Watch Sandi’s freedom walk here. She may be a little older, but judging by the video below, Sandi is just getting started! Don’t forget to share this story to remind your friends to adopt, not shop.
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