This shelter worker showed the ultimate commitment to this dog waiting for her forever home.
The commitment of an animal shelter’s staff and volunteers is often unmatched in other workplaces because of the amount of passion these people have for the animals that pass through. Though shelters are meant to be temporary homes for animals, they often turn out to be the place they live in for months, and even years.
This was the case for Lana, a 4-year-old bull mastiff mix, who was found on the streets when she was just a puppy. Her rescuer was not able to keep her, so she was dropped off at Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, where she was soon adopted because she was still a puppy.
Unfortunately for Lana, and many other dogs who outgrow puppyhood, she was surrendered back to the SPCA after 3 years of living in what was supposed to be her forever home.
When Lana became the shelter’s current longest-staying dog, they decided to treat her situation a little differently. Rather than idly waiting by for someone to adopt her, they decided to stage a sit-in to put a spotlight on this sweet pup.
The Director of Volunteers, Whitney Steele, opted to live in the kennel with Lana 24/7 until she was welcomed into her forever home.
Steel decided to make the experience as genuine as possible, even in deciding what she would sleep on. Instead of bringing in a cot to make her stay more comfortable, she slept on a dog bed like Lana does. Some nearby places donated food, such as the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport who gave the pair some breakfast burritos, to support the cause. Whitney also held meetings in there with her volunteers to show that she is committed.
Michael Morefield, Marketing and Communications Manager at the SPCA, told The Dodo,
“Whitney is learning a lot about what Lana goes through every day, and even though we have an amazing facility, it’s not a comfortable, loving home. Even after one night, Whitney has really taken that to heart and misses home, and Lana has been doing this every day for over four months. That was a hard realization.”
Indeed, as time passed, Whitney began to feel the worry that Lana must feel everyday that she will be in the kennel forever. The shelter used this sit-in to highlight Lana’s great personality, including the fact that she loves to hike, take naps, and is super smart.
Morefield explained why it was important for the staff to take matters into their own hands:
“She is a strong, independent woman who is also really humble, so Whitney is helping show her off. Everyone needs a hype man every once in awhile, and if Lana is too humble to tell people how great she is, we are going to do it for her!”
Thankfully, Lana (and Whitney) did not have to wait long after the sit-in began before the lovable dog found her forever home. After a little more than a day, someone came forward and found Lana to be the perfect addition to their family. We can only hope that other shelters adopt this sit-in technique or that they are at least as dedicated to their pet residents as Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA.
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