No one anticipated Sadie to return to the shelter when she left in 2014. She did, however, return last month when her family surrendered her. Soon later, Sadie was adopted again — and then returned. Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story; she was adopted and returned a week later.
Sadie and her littermates were only a few months old when they arrived at the Harris County Animal Shelter in Texas. Sadie had been photographed by the staff, and the little dog was promptly adopted by a family. But this wasn’t the forever family Sadie was looking for.
Ashley Roberts, a Harris County Animal Shelter worker, was present when Sadie’s family surrendered her last month. Roberts told The Dodo, “[Sadie] was in a tiny ball.” “To be honest, I assumed she was a stray who had been discovered, which was why she was so terrified. She didn’t even seem to be at ease with the folks she was with.”
“They mentioned something along the lines of [Hurricane] Harvey and said, ‘We thought we were going to keep her,’” Roberts added. “But they didn’t seem sorry that they were sending her back to the shelter.” Sadie’s puppy photo appeared when a staff member scanned her microchip and looked up her details on their systems.
“[The staff member] nearly burst into tears,” Roberts added. “He couldn’t even function when he saw her original photo and her return now… being surrendered back to a kill shelter. It was a sharp contrast between her confident puppy photo and the dog we saw in front of us. He was nearly in tears. I was already in tears.”
The following week, another family approached the shelter and begged to adopt Sadie. Everyone was overjoyed at first, thinking Sadie’s bad luck had come to an end. However, Sadie’s new family also returned her a week later. “I wasn’t there the second time she was surrendered, but [the new family] reported that she kept having accidents in the house,” Roberts explained. “What we believe happened was that she was so frightened that she urinated nervously.”
Following this, the crew shared Sadie’s photos on Facebook in the hopes that she would swiftly find a better — and more permanent — home. Soon after, a young woman contacted the shelter and offered to foster Sadie with the intention of adopting her.
“We strive to do adoption and foster counseling so that these animals and individuals have a higher chance of success with the adoption,” Roberts explained. “And we expressly stated, ‘[Sadie] doesn’t need to be around any other dogs for at least a week — just give her some space and give her some time to mellow out — she’s gone through so much.’” According to Roberts, the young woman did not listen for some reason.
“She appeared to be well-intentioned, and we assumed it would work out,” Roberts added. “So she took her home and said, ‘Oh, she’s doing so well.’ ‘Bring your dog over,’ she instructed her sister. As a result, her sister brings her dog over, and it attacks Sadie.” Sadie’s neck was covered in bite wounds when she was sent to the Harris County Animal Shelter for the fourth time.
“It’s all been poor luck,” Roberts added. “I’ve never seen a dog that has been returned so many times.” To assist Sadie in getting back on track, the shelter staff arranged for her to be placed in a foster home with Down South Rescue.
“Sadie is with an experienced foster and she is working with her,” Down South Rescue director Sharon Fanning told The Dodo. “She is still terrified and distrustful of others. She has, nevertheless, developed a strong attachment to her foster mother. It will take some time for her to recover both mentally and physically. And we will be extremely selective in who we allow to adopt her.” Sadie will not be available for adoption right now, but when she is, Roberts hopes she gets the greatest home possible.
“She was very nice in the shelter — I don’t think she has a cruel bone in her body,” added Roberts. “All we want is a home where she is adored and given the time and energy she requires.