It’s always heartbreaking when someone surrenders their pet to a shelter, but sometimes it’s for a justifiable reason: people fall on hard times and are unable to care for their pets anymore, and just want to do the right thing.
But when word got around about a homeless teen who gave up his dog, people were moved to help him out, leading to a sweet reunion.
On April 5, the Senatobia-Tate County Animal Shelter, in Mississippi, shared a sad bit of news on social media: a 17-year-old surrendered his dog into their care. According to the post, the teen was homeless, living under a bridge, and could no longer give the dog the care she needs.
The shelter was sympathetic, and it was clear the dog’s surrendering was done as a last resort out of necessity and with the animal’s best interest in mind.
It was clear that the teen and his dog, a 4-month-old named Jada, had a loving bond: the teen walked her all the way to the shelter to make sure she was taken in properly, and when he left the dog was heartbroken and wouldn’t let him go.
“She kept herself pinned to his legs while he was here,” the shelter wrote. A photo shows the dog laying on the floor, devastated, after her owner left.
The shelter wrote that they were actually full but made an exception: “How could we not take her in,” they wrote.
Their post went viral online — and naturally, thousands of people were moved by the story. They asked if there was anyway to help the teen, to help him get back on his feet so he could reunite with his best friend.
“If there [is] anyway to help this young, sweet boy, please include me. We want to help,” one comment reads.
“Can we possibly foster the dog until the young man can get help??? The thought of me having to give up my dogs would possibly ruin me because they are my family,” another wrote. “We will help out in any way.”
After the outpouring of public support, the shelter passed on info to the young man to see if he would accept their help. And from there, things took an inspiring turn.
In an update, Senatobia-Tate County Animal Shelter wrote that people could help the teen and his dog, either by helping to fund the dog’s treatments — including spaying and a year of flea/tick and heart prevention — or by donating money or gift cards to the teen to help him back on his feet.
Best of all, they announced that the teen “has a place to stay and will be soon getting his dog back.”
A photo shows the two reunited, no doubt a huge relief after their brief but heartbreaking separation.
For people who are homeless, caring for a dog can be a financial difficulty that can be hard to manage, but a dog’s love can mean the world to people who have little else. We’ve seen many stories of homeless people taking great care of their pets, even prioritizing them above their own wellbeing.
Hopefully, the outpouring of support will go a long way in helping the 17-year-old and Jada stay together and overcome their circumstances.
And after going viral, the story took another dramatic turn: a woman in Tennessee saw the story and said the teen was her son, who was reported missing a year ago.
“I started crying,” she told WREG. “I wish he would come home. I want to see him. I’m not mad at him. I just want him in my house. I want him to be here with me.”
The situation is still developing, and is a private, personal matter, but the important thing is that this homeless teen is safe and has his dog back. We hope everything will get better for them soon.
Thank you to everyone who helped this homeless teen reunite with his sweet dog. It would be heartbreaking for them to have to separate due to life circumstances when they clearly love each other a lot.
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