No one expected Sadie to return to the shelter when she left in 2014. However, last month she was surrendered by her family and returned. Soon after, Sadie was adopted again, and then returned. Unfortunately, this cycle repeated; she was adopted and returned yet again just a week later. Sadie and her littermates were only a few months old when they arrived at the Harris County Animal Shelter in Texas. A staff member had photographed Sadie, and this little dog was promptly adopted by a family. Yet, it turned out this wasn’t the forever family Sadie was hoping for.
Ashley Roberts, a Harris County Animal Shelter worker, was present when Sadie’s family surrendered her last month. Roberts told The Dodo, “[Sadie] was curled up in a tiny ball. Honestly, I thought she was a stray that had been found, which was why she was so scared. She didn’t even seem comfortable with the people she was with.”
“They mentioned something about [Hurricane] Harvey and said, ‘We thought we were going to keep her,’” Roberts added. “But they didn’t seem regretful that they were surrendering her back to the shelter.” Sadie’s puppy photo appeared when a staff member scanned her microchip and checked her records in their system.
“Almost broke into tears,” Roberts recounted. “He couldn’t believe it when he saw her original photo and then her return now… being surrendered back to a kill shelter. The stark contrast between her confident puppy picture and the dog we saw in front of us was heartbreaking. He nearly burst into tears. I was already crying.”
A week later, another family came to the shelter and asked to adopt Sadie. At first, everyone was thrilled, thinking Sadie’s streak of bad luck had ended. However, Sadie’s new family also returned her a week later. “I wasn’t there the second time she was surrendered, but [the new family] reported that she kept having accidents in the house,” Roberts explained. “We think she was so scared that she was urinating nervously.”
After this, the team posted Sadie’s pictures on Facebook, hoping that she would quickly find a better — and more permanent — home. Shortly thereafter, a young woman reached out to the shelter and offered to foster Sadie with the intention of eventually adopting her. “We try to do adoption and foster counseling so that these animals and people have a higher chance of success with the adoption,” Roberts explained. “And we specifically said, ‘[Sadie] needs not to be around any other dogs for at least a week — just give her some space and time to relax — she’s been through so much.'” For some reason, the young woman didn’t heed this advice.
“She seemed well-intentioned, and we thought it would work out,” Roberts said. “So she took Sadie home and said, ‘Oh, she’s doing