Eric Riethmiller and Sydnei Bennett with their dogs, Xano (left) and Kyla (right)

BRIDGEPORT, OH.- (WTRF) A mellow dog with manners is how Belmont County Animal Shelter’s Head Dog Warden Lisa Williams describes Xano, a newly adopted pit bull. 

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Williams says, “Sometimes it just takes time to find the right family and they fit right in. It’s almost instantaneous. That long of a wait, it’s almost like Wa-lah! There it is, perfect fit.” 

According to Williams, “We were so happy that he got a home finally. We see the good in dogs that other people may not and people look if they’re pretty or whatever. Sometimes they have a pretty soul and that means more than looks and it goes a long way here. We get pretty attached to the dogs and we want the best for them. We treat them like their ours.” 

Williams says Xano, like many other pit bulls, sometimes spend a few years at the shelter waiting for the right fit. 

For Xano it was a total of two. 

Williams says the stay, although quite comfortable, isn’t permanent. 

“Some dogs think it’s the Hilton until they actually get a home they haven’t had any better. We’re not a home. We’re a stepping stone for them to get a home,” says Williams.

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Xano has finally found his forever family.

He wipes his paws at his new home in Bridgeport, Ohio.

Erik Riethmiller, who is Xano’s new owner says, “I got home with him and he just looked at me the entire ride from Saint Clairsville to Bridgeport and just smiled to me the entire ride home.” 

Sydnei Bennett, who also is Xano’s owner says, “We walked in and we wanted some dog who was good with other dogs, cats and children we came up with a few dogs we liked and she was like hey I feel like this dog will be a very good match with your dog and your family and we fell in love with him. It’s honestly a blessing to have him in our home and to spoil him rotten.” 

Riethmiller and Bennett don’t know how Xano got his name while at the animal shelter, but do agree he loves his name. 

Xano by definition means clever, highly sensitive and deeply emotional.  

What truly matters most is that he is in their home now and they can give him all of the love he deserves. 

Riethmiller says, “Xano just being out on the front porch and looking out to the world and seeing how grateful that he is to be out here and to understand that he has a home finally.  It really just makes everything complete.”

So who wanted to adopt another dog anyway? 

“It was absolutely my idea,” says Bennett, “I have been pushing for a dog for over a year now. I want a playmate for our dog, Kyla, and finally he said let’s get a dog and I said sounds great to me.” 

Kyla and Xano are the best of buddies

Syndei says they don’t fight over whose food is whose.   

“It’s helpful to have another dog to set the standard of when to go out, what time is bedtime, what time it is to lay down and relax and then he loves his blanket,” says Bennett, “That’s probably his favorite toy. He doesn’t like any of the chew toys we bought him. He loves his blanket. That’s his favorite toy.” 

Riethmiller adds, “He has one blanket he has chosen on his own. We have about four in the house. He’s obsessed with one blanket itself and he’ll take it in his mouth and take it all the way up the staircase to our bed when it’s time to go to sleep. We’ll turn off all the lights and he’ll just immediately grab it and carry it up the stairs on his own and it’s hysterical every time he does it.” 

Xano and Kyla took their first road trip together with Erik and Sydnei.

The couple says say they went to the local Dairy Queen in Bridgeport where Xano quickly became obsessed with a certain sweet treat.  

According to Riethmiller, They have little pup cones. They give them out for free, but they’re extremely small little cones that they put vanilla in them. Both of the dogs are obsessed with them.” 

Although the decision to give Xano his very own home sweet home was an easy one for Eric and Sydnei, this couple agrees just how heartbreaking it is to see when pit bulls aren’t adopted and hope that this story sheds light on the importance of pet adoption for breeds like pit bulls.  

“It’s really shocking to me that he’s been in a shelter so long,” says Riethmiller, “He’s a beautiful dog and like I said with pit bulls it’s more unfortunate that a lot of people don’t want to take that risk and I’m very glad we’ve taken that risk because he’s one of the best dogs I have ever owned in sixteen years of having dogs.” 

“It’s heartbreaking, but seeing him with our dog, our cat and with should just tell you how good of an animal they are,” says Bennett.

“It has to be a lot more rough for a dog to share the love with fifty plus other dogs in a shelter at the time so I can’t know what it’s like for him to be in there in a shelter for all of those Christmases and birthdays and we don’t know when his birthday is, but we’re definitely going to give him an adoption birthday and to let him know what the love is like,” says Riethmiller.

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