Not every shelter pup gets a red carpet sendoff after being adopted. But for Bowie the shepherd mix — who’d spent over a year searching for his forever family — it was the most fitting farewell his friends at Whatcom Humane Society (WHS) could think of.
Bowie was a celebrity among staff members from his very first day, when he quickly won the hearts of every single employee and volunteer who worked at the rescue.
“He was really, really sweet,” Andrea Merrill, Whatcom Humane Society’s development associate, told us.
For nearly a year and a half, shelter staff cared for Bowie as if he were their own. In addition to playing with him in rescues, volunteers take him on excursions to get out of the shelter for a while.
“He’s one of those dogs that just need the whole village to invest in him,” Merrill said. “That’s why [the adoptions] I haven’t been exercising…”
During that time, Bowie received several adoption applications, but none of them worked for him.
“He definitely needs someone who is willing to understand that he’s a great dog who is still learning his manners,” Merrill said.
Every time a new adoption fails, Bowie returns immediately to the shelter. And, despite their confusion as to why no one has successfully adopted him, his friends at the Humane Society welcome him back with open arms.
About a year into Bowie’s stay at WHS, a local college student found his story on social media and started following along.
“She was utterly in love with him, but it wasn’t the right time,” Merrill said.
Six months later, the woman graduated from college and secured her first job. When she went back to WHS and saw that Bowie was still available, she put in an adoption application immediately.
“It’s very much a ‘the right person found the right dog’ situation,” Merrill said. “And everyone here at Whatcom was so excited for Bowie to start this new chapter.”
While a red-carpet farewell isn’t a typical scene in the humane society, the crew felt it was only for their own four-legged celebrity. Plus, there are so many friends who want to say goodbye to him one last time.
WHS staff rolled out a long red carpet for Bowie from the kennel to the door. They made a special sign just for him and lined up around the rug to say a final goodbye to their good friend.
“Everyone was in tears, but we were all very excited, just so So happy for him,” Merrill said. “It was a very sweet way for us to be able to say goodbye to Bowie. “
After walking the red carpet and exiting the shelter, Bowie headed straight for his forever home.
When he’s not going hiking or concentrating on training sessions, Bowie can be found snuggling with his mom, who loves him more and more every day.
“She just absolutely adored him,” Merrill said. “And Bowie was so, so happy.”