One year ago in Belmont County, a homeless man had to give up his dog. The man had health issues, and the dog couldn’t go with him to the nursing home. But now he’s back on his feet, and his first stop was the Belmont County Animal Shelter for a sweet reunion.
Herbert Brown didn’t think he’d ever walk again. So he gave up custody of his 10-year-old Chihuahua, Lady.
It all started one year ago, on a bitter cold wintry day.
“It was snowy, and it was during that time when we had the frigid weather where it was below zero,” recalled Angela Hatfield, director of the Belmont County Animal Shelter.
Herbert Brown was homeless, living in his van, and his feet became frostbitten. He had to go into a nursing care and rehabilitation facility.
The animal shelter got a call about his little dog.
“She was the cutest little thing in the world,” recalled Hatfield. “And very scared. I brought her to the shelter.”
Lady became the darling of the shelter. Meanwhile, Brown had a series of surgeries, in which doctors removed portions of his feet.
Early in the process, he didn’t think he’d ever walk well enough to be able to take care of his dog. But now, a year later, he has recovered. He has an apartment, and he came back to the shelter for Lady.
She started staring intently at the door, as soon as Brown’s van pulled into the parking lot.
She ran to the door to meet him, wildly wagging her tail.
“Yeah, we’re going to go home,” he assured her.
Lady has acquired a lot of belongings in her year at the shelter–toys, sweaters, treats, medicines, halters and leashes.
Hatfield gave Brown a quick refresher on Lady’s medicine.
“This is her cough tab,” she noted. “She takes these as needed. They’re already cut in half for you. She’s pretty smart about it, so you have to hide them in peanut butter!”
Lady also learned to “sing” while at the shelter. She surprised Brown with an impromptu concert, howling loudly to the accompaniment of a squeaky toy.
Brown said the one thing he wouldn’t need to take home was a dog crate.
“You know where she’ll be sleeping? Right in bed with me!” he said. “And she always takes up more than her half of the bed!”
Shelter workers flocked to the parking lot to say their farewells to Lady.
“It’s because we love the animals,” said Hatfield. “We love to see them well taken care of. And we also love to see them reunited with their owners. This is a great day at the shelter for Lady.”