Crockett, other dogs at animal shelter find homes


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Remember Crockett, that lonely dog at the animal shelter who really needed a good home?

Well, it appears he’s found one.

Only three days after Central Michigan Life ran an article about the pitbull/boxer mutt’s sad tale, Crockett was on his way to new home for a trial run with a family as mixed as he is.

“I wanted to go meet Crockett after reading the article just because I felt horrible for him,” said Torry Gagne, a teacher at Barryton Elementary School in the Chippewa Hills School District. “When I first saw him, I thought he was one of the nicest dogs I’d ever met.”

Gagne and his girlfriend Elissa Richmond, both Central Michigan University alumni, are raising a family of four kids. One child is his, two are hers, and the youngest is both.

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Their Rosebush home, with its three-acre yard complete with swing-set, trampoline and playful pack of young children, has been an idyllic place for Crockett to find love, Gagne said.

“He’s actually the best-behaved one here,” Gagne said, shooting a sly smile at his kids whose grins are dripping from Crockett’s slobbery kisses.

The family is waiting to officially adopt Crockett until they are certain he is comfortable with them, Gagne said. Their youngest might have a mild and treatable allergy to dogs, he said, but they are definitely leaning towards making Crockett a part of the family.

Crockett’s heart seems set on it, too.

“He is not allowed in the beds at night, but we’ve been giving in to him in the afternoon if we’re lying around,” Gagne said. “He’ll go upstairs with the kids and jump in their beds in the morning. We’ve let that slide.”

At night, Crockett gently paws open Gange and Richmond’s bed sheets, Gagne said, as if to tuck them in. Then he curls up at the foot of their bed with his blanket from the kennel, and spends the rest of the night snoring.

“I think in the kennel he heard the barking all night,” Tanner, 10, said. “And now he snores because he’s sleeping in peace.”

The first two nights, however, Crocket spent trembling, whimpering and even wetting himself. Gagne believes the dog, rescued twice from unfit owners, was having nightmares.

“In the morning, I just hugged him, loved him,” Gagne said. “I told him it was OK, and he was a good dog.”

Since the article, the shelter has had a surge of 19 adoptions and five trial runs, more than they've had in months, said Baley Westers, Humane Animal Treatment Society canine care specialist.

“Every single day, adoptions happened,” the Grand Rapids senior said. “We’ve had so many, we didn’t have to euthanize this week.”

Westers said it’s always painful to put down their beloved dogs. Although the staff had been trying to keep Crockett off that list, she said if the shelter had grown too crowded, it would have had to select the dog who had been there the longest.

But that dog, along with about a third of the kennel, now has a home.


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