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The labradoodle is an in-demand dog breed — popular among the rich and famous. So members of the Henry County Humane Society were surprised to find one, abandoned over a week ago, with a heartbreaking note.
One of the shelter’s dog walkers discovered the animal — crammed inside a tiny cage without food or water — on May 21 in a building that is set to become the Humane Society's new shelter in the city of Geneseo, located in northern Illinois.
“In July I’ll have been here three years and I can honestly tell you I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Tracy Diehl, manager of the Henry County Humane Society, told TODAY. “Of course, he was scared to death, and he’s still a little nervous, but he’s really doing great.”
The note introduced the dog as Buddy, and said he's up-to-date on his shots and amazing with kids, but that the animal had outgrown his current apartment.
"It is very hard for me to leave a home where I am very loved and cherished," the note continues. "But I hope I can bring joy to my new family.”
But Buddy is on the swift road to recovery and adoption. The shelter has received so many applications they’ve stopped accepting new submissions, and they are currently sorting through candidates.
While the Henry County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, it has very limited resources and can only house up to four animals at a time. And although they are still raising funds, administrators hope to relocate to the new building by September. The new shelter will be able to accommodate up to 15 dogs at a time.
As for Buddy? “He’s just wonderful," said Diehl. "He knows how to sit, stay and shake."
The shelter takes great care in choosing families for their animals.
“We want people to be happy with their choice,” said Diehl. “But we want to make sure the animal is happy as well.”
They even call a potential owner's current veterinarian to ask if their pets are up-to-date on shots. They also inquire about the hopeful owner's activity level and living environment.
And while circumstances surrounding Buddy’s abandonment are heartrending, the shelter is working hard to find a new family who will love and support him.
“The one good thing that’s come out of this is that people are realizing there are great dogs at shelters,” said Diehl. “Please look at your local shelters.”
The organization also plans to keep Buddy's story top of mind once the new facility is complete.
"Considering how he was crammed in a very small space, we want to name the dog yard after him," Diehl said. "The dogs will always have a space to run and stretch their legs."