Hope for a Home: Larger dogs struggle to find homes

(WSVN) - When it comes to picking a pet, many animal lovers head to rescue shelters. But some dogs have trouble finding someone to adopt them, and the reason may surprise you. 7’s Brandon Beyer has this special assignment report: “Hope for a Home.”

Those eyes. That face.

Volunteer: “Kisses. Kisses. Kisses!”

They’re cute, and they’re friendly, but some of these pound pups weigh 50 pounds or more, and in South Florida, large can be a big problem.

Larry Wallenstein, volunteer: “Everyone wants a dog that weighs 20 pounds or less because they love little fluffy dogs, and the rules in their condominium say no dogs over 20 pounds, so it’s really a problem.”

At Abandoned Pet Rescue in Fort Lauderdale, 14 big dogs are long-term residents, and we’re not talking months, we’re talking years.

Dogs like 6-year-old Cooper — a terrier mix who has spent almost all of his life here.

David Banks, volunteer “Cooper’s been here. He’s our longest dog, been here since 2013. He’s a very loving, caring animal.”

8-year-old Marlin, an Akita/Shepherd mix, has lived here four years.

And Bessie, a 10-year-old pit bull mix, has lived at the shelter for more than three years.

David Banks: “Good girl, Bessie. Good girl.”

Malena Egana, volunteer: “It does hit your heart when you see and you keep coming here — and I’ve been here for six years — and you still see some of the same dogs. We do wish that we had more people looking at them because some of them are senior dogs and do need to have a better opportunity.”

Abandoned Pet Rescue is a true no-kill shelter, so unless these dogs are adopted, they could live out the rest of their lives here without having the chance of a home or a family.

David Banks: “I want them to enjoy everything that my dog has. I want them to have a yard, to have someone care for them. I want to see them get out of the shelter, and when they get out of the shelter, that’s another dog that we can save.”

Volunteers come in the evenings to take the dogs for walks and give them some one-on-one time away from the commotion of the kennel.

There are also fostering programs and home visits to make sure the dog you like is a good fit.

Larry Wallenstein: “You get to take a dog home, live in your environment, figure it all out, and see if it really works, and it’s OK if you bring them back and say, ‘You know, it didn’t work out.'”

Volunteer: “Hey, Rudy boy.”

Even big boys like Rudy, a 9-year-old Shepherd mix, can be the perfect pet for the right person.

Volunteer (in Spanish): “Hey, baby. Let’s go for a walk!”

Larry Wallenstein: “No dog is unadoptable. There is a home for every animal. It’s just matching the right person to the right pet.”

And the perfect match, be it with a dog or cat, gives these animals hope for a forever home.





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