When a uniquely bonded pair of dogs were surrendered to the Richmond Animal Care and Control shelter after their owner became homeless, the shelter wanted to have them adopted together. The dogs were, but their would-be happy ending took a dramatic turn that no one was expecting.
OJ, a 12-year-old blind Dachshund, relies on 6-year-old Pit bull, Blue Dozer, to guide him around. The two are best buddies and have a deep friendship. OJ is blind and depends on Dozer to show him around,” the shelter wrote. “We can’t stand the cuteness and kindness these two share.” So everyone was happy when a woman agreed to adopt the pair and they left the shelter together to go to their new home.
But only a few days later, OJ was found wandering on a rural road 100 miles away from the shelter.
The Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center took in little OJ and was able to figure out who he was via a microchip. They tracked down the woman who had given OJ and Blue Dozer a home, only to be told she didn’t want OJ back, but she was keeping Blue Dozer. Richmond Animal Care was notified of the situation.
As word spread locally of OJ and Blue Dozer’s separation and OJ’s misfortune, their story went viral and people voiced their concerns for the two dogs’ welfare and inundated the Richmond shelter with criticism and the adopter with threats.
“We very much appreciate the outpouring of community support but want to be very clear about a few details,” the shelter wrote in a Facebook post. “First, we do not support any act of violence…The only thing that matters is these sweet dogs get to stay together – and in the end that’s what we have…Our work is about love and compassion for animals – please extend that kindness to humans.”
An official at the shelter called a “delicate situation” and approached the woman to get Blue Dozer back. “Our main concern is, they needed to be together,” said Christie Chipps Peters, director of the Richmond Animal Care and Control shelter. “They’re a unique, bonded pair. OJ can’t see well, and he needed his buddy with him.”
Happily, the woman eventually agreed, and Blue Dozer and OJ were joyfully reunited at the shelter. They wagged their tails, wiggled and snuggled each other as soon as they were together again. The shelter hopes to find the pair a responsible dog owner the second time around, but clarified that some things are out of their control.
“RACC is an open admission shelter with a 91% save rate and we adopt thousands of animals a year into loving homes without issue,” they wrote. “Our practices, adoption policy and choices to make adoptions are done in the best interest of each animal. We cannot account for decisions that are made by citizens after adoption and work diligently to keep our open adoption process successful. In the end, we have to trust people – trust them to love the pets we have cared for, and trust them to do what is best.”
The shelter said they are going to let OJ and Blue Dozer chill and relax for the next few days and added, “Their story isn’t over and we are grateful that we have an incredible staff that worked hard tonight to ensure these sweet dogs have another chapter.”