When Big Mac arrived at the McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was clear that the pup would have a long road to finding a family. The large dog was nervous around new people and wasn’t doing well in the shelter environment.
“We’re not really sure what his living environment was like prior to coming to us, but it was very apparent that he didn’t trust everyone right away,” Lauren Mann, advancement manager at the shelter, told The Dodo. “He did warm up with treats and when he was out of the kennel and in the play yard.”
Then, 260 days later, a miracle happened — Big Mac walked out the door of McKamey Animal Center forever.
One of the shelter volunteers had agreed to foster him in her home and fell in love with the once-fearful dog, deciding to make him a permanent part of her family.
“When my coworker took him in to foster, she said the first night he slept, like, 12 hours straight, and just really opened up and wanted to play with her other dog and even wanted to play with the cats,” Mann said. “[He] really made a 180 and was a great dog overall.”
Mac even learned to trust again thanks to the shelter worker’s dog.
“Her resident dog took him under his wing, and if they went on a stroll and he became afraid, her dog would say, ‘No, it’s OK,’” Mann explained. “And he’d prove to him that everything was OK and that people could be trusted.”
When Big Mac left the shelter for the last time to go home with his new mom, Mann and her team wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion.
The shelter staff gathered together at the entrance to give the longest resident a standing ovation as he walked out of the building for the last time.
“His new mom was surprised that he handled it so well, which shows that he’s doing a lot better with stranger danger,” Mann said. “He was just ready to go … he didn’t really care about treats or pets or anything. He was just ready to go home.”
Now, Big Mac is part of a loving home and has a new family who will never leave his side.