Seeing Bean today posing for a photo in his red bow tie or romping in the snow with his canine sibling in his Long Island, N.Y. home, you would never know what an incredible story he has. Bean had to fly 8,500 miles and wait more than a year to find “his” family.
“When we first saw a picture of Bean on the Animal League America website, we instantly fell in love,” says Cassandra. “My fiancé, Kevin, and I reached out and heard his full story and honestly that was it for us. We both knew that we could not leave him in the shelter.”
While no one will ever know much about Bean’s life on the streets of the Hua Hin district in Thailand, we can imagine that it must have been a struggle. Hunger stalks the dogs on the streets as well as thirst, disease, and accidents with vehicles. Somehow he survived, perhaps with the guidance of his mother or the help of a sibling. Luckily he was taken in by Project Street Dogs, Thailand—a shelter partner of Animal League America —that’s dedicated to helping improve the lives of stray animals.
Bean’s Incredible Journey Begins
In July of 2017, 13 homeless puppies including Bean, were flown to New York City through the incredible generosity of an Animal League America donor. This generosity allows us to continue to expand our rescue efforts so no distance is too far and no rescue mission too daunting when it comes to saving the lives of homeless animals.
Bean’s life took a dramatic turn for the better as he settled into the North Shore Animal League America’s campus on Long Island, but all he knew was fear—to him everything was strange and different including the people. With the slow and caring encouragement of our staff and volunteers, he began to make behavioral progress—Bean walked on a leash outside for the first time, was able to be pet, and became housebroken. This probably was the only socialization he had ever had. All of these were good steps towards being able to go up for adoption and finding a loving, responsible home. It took several more months, in between time spent in the medical area, for Bean to feel comfortable enough to approach new people.
Patricia and Dave Rome, two of Animal League America’s dog volunteers, were involved in helping to socialize Bean and get him used to different sights and sounds. So, when the inquiry about Bean came in, Pat took the lead in assisting with the adoption. It was critical to see if Cassandra and Kevin’s other dog, Rocky, would get along with Bean. They arranged for a first meeting between the dogs here on the Animal League America campus. “First, we walked the two dogs together and the younger dog, Rocky, was very respectful,” says Patricia. “Then we entered our dog park where we let them interact more and Bean corrected Rocky’s behavior once and then it was okay.”
Bean’s Destiny Unfolds
Patricia went on to set up five more meetings so Bean would become comfortable with the couple before they took him to their home. They walked all together as a pack (Patricia, Bean, Cassandra, Kevin, and Rocky) and spent time in the dog park. Patricia watched as Bean “slowly warmed up to Cassandra making me think that he really felt her devotion.” He was more reserved with Kevin, but not afraid. Patricia felt that this extra time spent made all the difference in this adoption. She says that “Bean knew this was about him joining forces with them.”
“It was extremely helpful that we were able to get to know Bean beforehand and that we knew he would be a good companion for Rocky,” says Cassandra. “Most importantly, though, we really think it was helpful for Bean. It gave us the chance to get valuable advice from Pat. She made us understand the caring and nurturing that Bean was going to require.”
“Bean opens up more and more every day. His personality just keeps growing! When we first brought him home he was fearful, skittish, and confused. Rightfully so, as he was never in a stable home environment before,” enthuses Cassandra. “Immediately, he created a sort of safe spot for himself in the house—his bed in the corner of the dining room.”
When Cassandra and Kevin were ready to take Bean home, Patricia brought him to their house. She was able to walk him around the yard and house and it calmed Bean and the new adopters. There were some challenges during the early days. It turned out that Bean was a “Houdini” and managed to escape from and destroy several crates. If he was loose in the house, he did become destructive. With some help from Patricia, Cassandra was able to find an inescapable crate and the couple purchased a camera to keep an eye on him during the day when they had to work. Now, a few months later, the separation anxiety is better and Bean is able to be left in one room while the couple goes to work.
Open Up Your Heart
Our advice to other adopters who wish to give a special needs dogs a chance is “if you are looking for a truly rewarding opportunity you should go for it! Just seeing the difference in what four months has done for Bean has really warmed our hearts,” say Cassandra and Kevin. “While we did face challenges and obstacles, especially in the beginning, there is no better feeling than seeing him take a new risk or overcome a new challenge. Also, seeing how we have been able to change his life has truly changed our lives forever.”
Are you looking to adopt and feel inspired to really make a difference in the life of a shy/fearful dog?
You will need patience and understanding and time, but there is nothing more rewarding. Here are two dogs, currently at North Shore Animal League America, who are looking for their families.