It is unfortunate that dogs (among many other animals, in fact) often end up in shelters. Besides all of the stress and trauma that they have to live through after being abandoned or after having lived in the “wild” streets, being in a shelter doesn’t guarantee a happily-ever-after ending. But at least it tries its hardest to do so. And sometimes hard work pays off in heaps.

Meet Lola, a former stray pooch and young mother of six who ended up in a shelter along with all of her offspring. But, after an impressive 400-plus days, she was finally adopted and now lives in her forever home in Mesa, Arizona.

Bored Panda got in touch with Kelsey Dickerson of the Humane Society to elaborate on the story.

Meet Lola, the 2 Y.O. mommy doggy of 6 puppers who has ended up in an animal shelter over a year ago

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

So, Lola was originally brought to the Humane Society of Wickenburg, Arizona over a year ago, in September of 2019, as a stray along with her litter of six puppies. She continued raising her puppies whilst in the shelter, and watched as each of them, one by one, were adopted as she patiently waited for her turn.

It does take a while for dogs to get adopted, and it’s around seven times longer when you consider dog years, so it does feel like an eternity for the pooch. But it doesn’t usually take as long as it did in Lola’s case.

“Adorable Lola was originally brought to the Humane Society of Wickenburg as a stray with underage puppies,” elaborated Kelsey. “After 400+ days and more than half her life spent at HSW, Lola was transferred to the Arizona Humane Society through the Project Reachout Program in hopes that a change of scenery would help her finally find her forever home.”

Nobody thought she would end up staying there for over 400 days—much more than most other dogs!

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

But after a long wait, Lola was transferred to another shelter and was adopted within less than 24 hours

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

According to the Animal Legal and Historical Center of Michigan State University, over 30 states have “holding period” laws, which determine the minimum required period an animal must be kept at a pound or shelter before it’s adopted, sold, or euthanized. This is usually 5 to 7 days, but can be as short as 24 hours.

Now, that’s legalese, but what is the reality? We asked Kelsey how much time do dogs typically spend in shelters until they are adopted. She had this to say:

“While we can’t speak specifically for the Humane Society of Wickenberg, during COVID-19, pets at the Arizona Humane Society have found their forever homes in less than four days once on the adoption floor. That number was 12 days prior to the pandemic hitting.”

She continued: “Of course, some pets may have a little bit longer time period while waiting for the perfect family. However, AHS’ adoptable animals are able to take all the time they need because of the Arizona Humane Society’s Ethical No-Kill Philosophy, which means we never euthanize a pet due to length of stay or space in the shelter and will work to make sure every pet gets the second chance at a great life that they deserve.”

Turns out, keeping animals for longer than the legally prescribed period is a matter of each individual shelter. Given this information, the Humane Society has really walked the extra mile(s) for Lola here, and for that, we commend them!

Lola was originally brought into the Wickenburg Humane Society as a stray back in September of 2019

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

Along with her were 6 of her puppies, who were one-by-one adopted during her stay at the shelter

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

After these 400-plus days, she made her way to Phoenix, Arizona to try her luck getting adopted. Thanks to the Arizona Humane Society’s (AHS) Project Reachout Program, an initiative launched to help save as many pets’ lives as possible by working together with other shelters, Lola was finally transferred to another shelter where she was adopted in under 24 hours. In Lola’s case, the transfer is said to be strictly for a change of venue and makes her one of more than 870 pets who have been helped through this program.

And shelters do run into challenges when caring for dogs, let alone mama pups who come with their own litter, as explains Kelsey:

“Many shelters are simply unable to care for mama pups who come in with underage puppies or orphaned puppies who come in without a mom, due to the amount of care that is needed to keep them healthy and provide an environment that is safe for them. This is why the Arizona Humane Society has an ICU extension of its Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital, called the Mutternity Suites, that is dedicated to providing a medically supervised, safe, quiet space for mama dogs and their pups to get the care they need before heading to a Foster Hero home.”

Now, shelters aren’t legally obligated to keep animals for more than 1–7 days, depending on the state

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

But the Arizona Humane Society kept her for over 400 days until she finally got adopted last week

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

“Lola is a sweet, loving, happy pup who adores every single person she meets instantly. Young, energetic, and playful, this sweet girl loves to romp around with other pups who are just as spirited as she is and enjoys cuddling with her favorite humans any chance she gets! Although she is very playful, Lola is great with kids and is as smart as she is cute!” explained Kelsey.

A very social dog all around, it was a complete mystery why she was given the short end of the stick when it came to adoption. Luckily, the relocation solved the problem!

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

We’ve asked Kelsey what is one thing she wishes more people knew about adoption and shelter dogs. She had this to say:

“Adoption is not only a wonderful way to add a loving, furry companion to your home, but it is also crucial to saving the lives of homeless pets. There are so many wonderful pets with just as wonderful personalities who are hoping for a second chance at life with a home full of love and care. By choosing to adopt, not shop, you directly save the lives of pets in need while reducing needless euthanasia, pet homelessness and overpopulation in your community.”

Here’s a video of Lola enjoying a good snuggle with one of the keepers at the shelter

Click to unmute

Image credits: Arizona Humane Society

Bored Panda has covered a number of other rescue and adoption stories, like this list of celebrities who decided to adopt and not shop, or these before and after pics of the life-changing adoption that these doggies underwent.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you adopted strays or rescues? Let us know in the comment section below!