Jennifer Hoyt visited the Oahu SPCA while stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Army to meet its most unlikely adoptee.
Hoyt knew she eventually wanted to adopt a dog but was waiting for her fiancé, Dennis Shaffer, to arrive on the island so they could buy a house first and settle in.
But once she set eyes on Pirate, her plans flew out the window.
Founded in 2009, the no-kill shelter houses animals as long as they need to – and in the case of this senior mixed-breed dog, that happened to be for 7 straight years!
“Nobody ever asks to meet Pirate,” a staffer told Hoyt when she toured the facility.
Hoyt had discovered Pirate while doing Internet research on dogs in the area.
Happening upon the facility’s Instagram page, her heart ached when she learned that a dog had been in the shelter for 7 years with no forever home.
Hoyt immediately contacted her fiancé and told him about Pirate. He agreed she should meet the dog that she couldn’t stop thinking about, and she made her way to the shelter the very next day.
The visit wasn’t exactly encouraging.
“She didn’t look at me; she didn’t look at anything,” Hoyt said. “She was emotionally detached. That broke my heart.”
But Pirate’s reluctance only made Hoyt’s heart grow fonder. She began visiting the pup often at the shelter and even bought her a bed and toys.
Eventually, Pirate warmed up to her new friend.
Hoyt was so determined to have a good relationship with the dog that she would sometimes spend 8 hours a day at the kennel sitting by her side.
She couldn’t stop thinking about the pup when she was out and about and eventually, she realized that she was going to take Pirate home.
After working hard to form a bond and making sure the match would work, Pirate went home with Hoyt on July 13, 2017 and her fiancé joined the pair a few months later.
Of course, there were still some growing pains as the dog adapted to her new surroundings after 7 years of kennel life. She needed to learn to be a pet and not just a resident.
And she wasn’t particularly fond of Hoyt’s fiancé at first either. She had bonded so closely with her new mom that anyone else on the scene seemed like a threat.
Luckily, Pirate came around eventually and the family of three is now living happily ever after.
Now named Pirate Marie, the 13-year-old dog even has her own Instagram page where her parents share photos from her happy new life. The sweet pup has over 32,000 followers watching her adventures!
Hoyt has now turned her attention to helping other animals at the Oahu SPCA find their forever homes.
It turns out Pirate isn’t the only pup to spend 7 years at the facility – a senior dog named Brad was in the same situation. A woman from Michigan found out about the dog and agreed to adopt him, but the transportation costs were prohibitive.
That’s when Hoyt decided to set up a GoFundMe page to help get him to his fur-ever home. The original goal of $1,635 was exceeded within 21 days and now Brad is out of the shelter and into the loving arms of his new family as well.
It’s incredible to see the devotion this Army servicewoman has to senior dogs in need of a home.
Hoyt is a hero for her service to both her country and its forgotten animals.
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Source: I Heart Dogs