Worth the Wait: After 155 Days, Forrest Finds a Fabulous Family!

By Judy Layne

It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. There’s a special doggo who knows this is true. His name is Forrest.

Forrest was brought to safety at the Cape Breton SPCA by Enforcement Officers in July 2023. Approximately  4 years old, he had patchy fur and broken teeth. After receiving needed medical treatment, Forrest was put up for adoption. He was the full package – curious, playful and looking for a family with a sense of adventure that matched his own.

Yet for months, Forrest watched as people passed him by to adopt other dogs. It was surprising that there didn’t seem to be much interest in this sweet bouncy boy, as he had captured the hearts of the staff members and volunteers who cared for him. Forrest waited and waited for a special family who would look into his eyes and see the wonderful loving soul inside. Because the SPCA never gives up on pets, they decided that perhaps Forrest needed a new space to help find his perfect match, so he was transferred from Cape Breton to the Kings shelter.

Finally, after 155 long days of hoping for a fur-ever home, Forrest’s wish came true! On New Year’s Eve, Forrest was officially adopted by April MacIntyre and her family. Perhaps it was fate that Forrest’s new life would begin with the new year.

The family had started browsing the SPCA website over Christmas holidays. Their 13-year old daughter Sophie had wanted a dog for a long time, but they previously had cats and a dog was not in the cards then. They recently had to say goodbye to their last beloved kitty Finnigan and it seemed like the right time to think about getting a dog.

They didn’t have a specific breed or size of dog in mind, but they did want to adopt an adult dog. April explains “We were looking for a dog that was good with kids and we understood that Forrest was. When we learned how long he had been at the shelter, our hearts went out to him. After some emails back and forth with Hanna at the Kings shelter to make sure we were a good fit for Forrest, we decided to make the 2-hour trip from Dartmouth to Waterville on New Year’s Eve to meet him. He was immediately very friendly with all three of us, and who couldn’t love that sweet face?! He was also very well mannered and curious. We decided that Forrest was meant to be with us.”

Forrest made himself at home as soon as he arrived. April’s husband Roddy says “He wasn’t timid at all and immediately chose his favorite spots on the couch and in our bed! We had family over that evening and he spent the New Year’s Eve snuggling with them on the couch. He loves being around people and is so friendly with anyone that visits our home.”

Forrest is definitely living his best life. “He enjoys exploring the neighborhood and particularly loves to walk in the park across the street from our house,” says April. “He has several stuffies and chew toys (one of his favorite activities is to tear the stuffing out). And more than anything, he loves to cuddle. We believe he often thinks he is a chihuahua rather than the 65-pound lap dog he actually is! He is not a fan of the snow, especially if it is falling (perhaps he was left out in cold, stormy weather in his old life). He now has snow boots and a warm winter coat to keep him comfortable when we go on walks. He catches everyone’s attention in the neighborhood!

Forrest has made a real difference in the family’s life. April shares “We are definitely more active than we have been in a long time! Forrest gets two to three walks a day and at least one of them is done as a family. At the same time, we are more grounded now; happier to stick close to home and do things we can include him in. Forrest is so loving and so goofy! He always has us laughing.”

Forrest has a sensitive side that was brought out when Sophie had knee surgery in January. Forrest has been a constant companion for her during her recovery time and loves to snuggle on the couch with her. April says “He can’t wait until he is allowed to sleep in Sophie’s bed with her again! He is very diligent with her and seems to understand that she is recuperating.”

The family knew upfront that Forrest was curious, and they now always joke about how nosy he is. “He sniffs at everything and will even stick his head into anyone’s bag or purse when they come to our house!” chuckles Roddy.  “We are a camping family and we can’t wait to take him camping this summer.”

I asked what advice they would give to people who are considering adopting a pet who may have been at the shelter for quite a while. April says It’s definitely important to do your research and be sure that not only is a potential pet the right fit for your family, but that your family is also the right fit for that pet. Make certain that your home is ready to bring that pet into and ensure it is a welcoming loving space for an animal that might not have had that security before.”

The family reflects “We think there is often a misconception about older animals or animals that have been in shelter care for a long time. People may think that they have behavioral issues or some other challenge that has kept them there, but honestly, keep an open mind. Don’t overlook a potential pet because you think they may be challenging. Forrest has certainly shown us that that is not the case! He is such a sweetheart and so well-behaved and well-mannered. We love him dearly. It saddens us that he spent such a long time looking for his family, but we are definitely happy he waited for us.”

And the family’s final thoughts? “Our only regret is that we didn’t meet Forrest 154 days sooner!”

Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.