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Dog Gets Returned To The Same Shelter 11 Times Before Staff Realizes He’s Already Found His Home


Gumby, a handsome and friendly white hound mix, may have seemed like a rather ordinary dog. Yet he had some serious skills that made him a bit of a local celebrity in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina…

His story all started in September of 2014. Gumby was taken in by the Charleston Animal Society (CAS), which prides itself on being a no-kill shelter. Still, they had to make room for other animals, so it was crucial to find tenants like Gumby a real home as soon as possible.


Most dogs would be thrilled to be adopted by a loving forever family as soon as they possibly could. Heck, you’d be hard-pressed to find any dogs who don’t crave human interaction and affection! Not so with Gumby…

See, Gumby proved to be more than just a little different. In fact, the poor pooch was returned to the Charleston Animal Society no fewer than 11 times… in just one year! How was that even possible?


Gumby was clearly inspired by Houdini! He refused to be caged, and he would regularly escape the home of almost every family who’d adopted him. (In a few cases, he was returned to the shelter for his antics.) It seemed this pup didn’t have any interest in being adopted. Would he ever find a home?

The staff was determined to find Gumby a special forever home where he’d want to spend the rest of his life, but for some reason, he continued to resist their efforts. Often, he would sneak through a screen door. He simply wouldn’t settle down!

That kind of behavior is actually not out of character for a hound. They’re widely known for their stubbornness, and it’s not uncommon for them to run away from their owners if they can’t stay focused enough to be good hunting dogs.


Perhaps that was why Gumby managed to stay at his first adoptive family’s home for only three days before he found his way back at the shelter. The next adoption lasted a little longer—a mere six days. Why was Gumby escaping so much?

By that point, the staff at the Charleston Animal Society started warning any interested family about Gumby’s spectacular talent for daring escapes. This way, they could be prepared—and maybe purchase more secure locks—before they considered adopting him.

Gumby’s third family was convinced they could keep him around. It was difficult to blame them. Many dog lovers would probably like to think that they could help any dog settle down with time, but it’s easier said than done… especially in Gumby’s case.

As many would have predicted, the ever-sneaky Gumby was sent back to the Charleston Animal Society by his third family. The same thing happened three times more: one time he was captured by animal control, and twice more he was returned by his new owners.

By that point, the team at the shelter decided it was time to quit trying to find Gumby a home altogether. That didn’t mean they thought he was a lost cause. Rather, the shelter simply became his new forever home!


The people at the Charleston Animal Society were perfectly happy to keep Gumby around, and they even theorized that Gumby persistently returned to the shelter because “he knows he has work to do.” What sort of work could that be, you may ask?

Well, soon after the shelter re-adopted him, Gumby carved out a special role for himself, and he would regularly attend behavioral demonstrations to assist the behavior team with new dogs.

In fact, dozens of dogs were happy to play with Gumby each and every day! As for Gumby himself, he still received all the love, care, and everything else that he could ever ask for from a regular forever home.

The staff at the Charleston Animal Society were heroes for continuing to believe in Gumby and making such a special arrangement for him. Things would have been much different otherwise…

Sure, Gumby’s living situation was anything but typical, but it made this special pup happy, and he played an important role in helping all of the other dogs who came through the shelter. And that was all without even trying to escape!


As if Gumby’s new life at the Charleston Animal Society wasn’t fitting enough, the shelter’s staff later found out that there was one more way he could be helpful around the place: Gumby was the perfect candidate to become a blood donor!

Due to his blood’s healing capabilities, Gumby was able to donate blood to some shelter kittens who had been suffering from eye infections. It wasn’t a stretch to say that he was literally a lifesaver!


Clearly, Gumby was meant to spend the rest of his days at Charleston Animal Society after all. He had a roof over his head, food in his belly, and plenty of friends to play with. What more could a dog want?

Gumby finally found a place where he belonged, and everyone around him was more fortunate as a result. Here’s to many more happy years at the shelter!

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