If you read about Layla the Pitbull and the stuffed animal she brought from her former home, you may very well enjoy the story of Smokey.
Like Layla and the millions of companion animals that enter shelters per year in the U.S., Smokey was dumped in a high-kill shelter with little hope of continuing to enjoy doing fun, dog-related activities like chasing sticks and getting treats.
Smokey—a native of Ohio, state motto: “With God, all things are possible”—became one of many tragic shelter-related statistics on Valentine’s day. Like the majority of similar stories on Paw Bark Sit, the end of Smokey’s journey isn’t one you want to miss.
After landing himself in the Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption center in early 2017, Smokey held tight to one particular stuffed animal for comfort.
Unfortunately, Smokey’s caretakers could no longer afford to live in a house. When they gave him up, they left him with his own personal “therapy animal,” a small grey elephant with cheerful pink ears.
A sign in front of his enclosure read “keep my elephant with me,” letting future adoptees know that this wasn’t something Smokey was willing to part with.
According to Dove Lewis vet Erika Loftin, there is “no one-size-fits-all reason” for why dogs become attached to one particular toy. It may be the exact same explanation for children clinging to dolls.
“Some dogs, female dogs in particular, might bond with something that’s like a surrogate for a puppy,” Loftin said. “They mother it, they carry it around, and they get attached to it that way.”
Smokey had the good fortune of being noticed by a duo of volunteers from the pitbull-specific I Have A Dream Rescue organization. The pair fell head over heels in love with him and went out of their way to help.
The nonprofit’s motto is, “I have a dream that one day, no dog will be persecuted for the shape of their head. Every day, I fight for that dream.”
Until getting help from I Have A Dream, shelter employees were worried that Smokey’s growling issues would make it impossible for him to find placement.
Via I Have A Dream’s official Facebook page:
We want to give Smokey and his elephant a great big #WelcomeToSafe shout!!! They are both currently enjoying their freedom ride (Smokey fell asleep immediately) and there will definitely be more to come, but tonight they will be taking a much needed break and getting some rest.
The organization worked tirelessly to find a suitable foster home for the sweet white and brown spotted canine.
The Facebook posts worked!
Soon, I Have A Dream was flooded with inquiries about Smokey and his little grey friend.
As of February, Smokey had a plethora of foster homes to choose from. For all we know, he’s already found his forever home.
“He will be offered back to his family first. If that is not an option, we will provide Smokey with as much time as he and his elephant need,” I Have A Dream founder Misti Martin-Fuller told The Dodo.
In the meantime, Smokey and his elephant have begun to garner so much attention – their photos spreading across Facebook, the shelter pleasantly inundated with inquiries – that the new hope is his story will get more people excited about adopting other dogs from the shelter, as well.
That it’ll have a ‘trickle down effect for other dogs,” as Smith puts it. “We have 95 dogs available right now.’
Please SHARE Smokey’s story with your friends and family on Facebook today to promote the adoption of rescue animals. It works!