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Happy had bitten someone once, and that meant potential adopters often overlooked her, but it only took one person with an open heart to change her life for the better.

Happy was surrendered to DCSPCA in 2022 at 6 years old, an adorable girl with a bit of gray in her muzzle. The team knew she was a sweet dog with so much potential to be a wonderful companion, but Happy had bitten out of fear in the past, and many adopters wouldn’t consider a dog with a bite history. Everything changed for Happy, though, when one person with an open heart walked into the shelter and spotted the gentle black dog who just needed a special someone who was willing to work with her. That person was Mary.

“This beautiful black furry dog caught our eyes…”

DCSPCA: How did you find out about Happy?

MARY: My grandson and I went to DCSPCA one afternoon in search of a dog. He had been with me when we had to have my 14-year-old rescue put down; we were all so sad but hopeful that another rescue could "rescue" our sad feelings. 

We were warmly greeted at DCSPCA and taken to the kennels to observe the adoptable dogs. This beautiful black furry dog caught our eyes and as she was led into the enclosure to meet us, she seemed to be saying, "Here I am! Take me home with you!" The staff informed us that she had a bite history, but we were undeterred and went through the adoption process.

The name given her at DCSPCA was Happy Hope. We kept the name Happy. Whoever gave her that name must have known her potential. She is the personification (dogification?) of happy and it seems there was this extraordinary feeling just waiting to come out!   

“Here I am! Take me home with you!”

DCSPCA: What was she like when she first came home?

MARY: At first, she was guarded and not at all comfortable with any show of affection and she seemed to not know how to play. She never smiled but was not at all aggressive and was just quiet. A month after we adopted her, it was Christmas and I had a houseful of people for a Christmas Eve dinner. Happy was well behaved; quiet but mingled well.

DCSPCA: How has she changed since she’s been a part of your family?

MARY: One year later, everyone who meets Happy falls in love with her. Her mantra: "There are no strangers; just friends I haven't met yet."  She greets everyone with a wildly wagging tail and she smiles from ear to ear. She has also become a "therapy dog". I am a psychotherapist and three of my patients ask that she be present for their sessions. She comforts them when they are sad and seems to sense what they need.  Everyone laughs about how she knows exactly where my office is. It is in St. John's Lutheran Church where there are 26 classrooms and multiple stairs and hallways, but Happy knows exactly where to go and she will run in the door and down the hallways to my office, push the door open, run in and then sit in the middle of the room as if to say, "OK lets start!"

“Happy is extraordinary. Whatever her background, she has brought all who meet her nothing but joy and happiness!”

DCSPCA: How does Happy like to spend her time outside the office?

MARY: Back home, even though I live in the city of Poughkeepsie, the backyard is a zoo of deer, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, and chipmunks. Happy will do her perfunctory bark and run after them but some of the deer know she is just kidding. In the fenced-in area behind our yard there are two huge white dogs that have become best buds with Happy. They will "call" for each other, dash to the fence and have whatever conversations dogs have!

DCSPCA: Is there anything else you’d like to share about Happy?

MARY: Happy is my 7th rescue. All have been wonderful and they have all been favorites, but I must say, Happy is extraordinary. Whatever her background, she has brought all who meet her nothing but joy and happiness! Thank you DCSPCA for saving her for me!

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