Gumby was not having luck finding a forever home. Despite being a friendly and adorable dog, he was returned to the Charleston Animal Society (CAS) shelter eleven times. His first encounter with the animal rescuers began in September 2014 when he was taken in as a stray. At that time, the animal care workers had no idea they’d see Gumby so many times before finding him the home where he belongs.
For a year, Gumby experienced failure after failure when it came to placing him in a home. He was returned to the shelter eleven times. It wasn’t because he was rejected by a bunch of families though. It was because Gumby, who was a hound mix, had a great ability at escaping his enclosure. He would slip through screen doors, and his adopters just couldn’t handle him. Because he was impossible to keep in the house, families kept returning him. Not because he was aggressive, not because he was mean, but because he loved to run away.
During his third adoption, Gumby was returned to the shelter a startling four times. A Good Samaritan found him and dropped him off first. When he escaped again, animal control got him. And his adopted did it twice because they were sick of his escapee ways.
In December 2015, fifteen months after they first met him, the good people at CAS tried one last time to get Gumby into a forever home – if they failed he might have to be euthanized. He escaped three times in as many weeks.
Before they gave up completely and put him to sleep, they thought about the situation from Gumby’s perspective. Perhaps, he kept escaping because he was trying to get somewhere. Perhaps he already had a home. This epiphany led his rescue workers to look harder into Gumby’s past. And what they discovered changed everything.
He already had a home. He didn’t want to be with all these new adopters. He wanted to live with the rescue workers at the shelter. It clicked. And they invited Gumby to become a full-time resident at CAS.
Gumby was not the only dog benefiting from his stay at the shelter. His presence also helped calm other dogs that experienced anxiety and fear in the new environment. He helped them relax. He belonged and was willing to work for his room and board.
The staff said he kept running away from his adopters because “he knows he has work to do” at the shelter.
Since that day, Gumby has become a part of the team. He even has the title “general manager” for all the good he does at the organization. Although Gumby doesn’t live in a traditional home, he knows love. And that’s what counts.
Besides his good spirit, Gumby also helped heal other animals. He has donated blood to some kittens who have experienced eye infections. He has a forever home and won’t need to run away ever again. And he is happy with the good, and big-hearted, people at CAS.