Here’s another feel good story. God knows we need them.

Ethel May, an American bulldog mix, came to the Animal Protection League as a stray March 11, 2018. This stout chunk of a dog won the hearts of staff and volunteers immediately. She was heartworm positive and estimated to be about 5 years old. The sad thing is no one ever came looking for this sweet girl, not ever.

One of our volunteers described her this way in a Facebook post: “This plump, perky, playmate will be a fantastic companion. She’s a little selective with her dog friends and absolutely hates cats. And she doesn’t like anyone even looking at her food much less eating it.”

It always looked like Ethel May was smiling. It made people giggle just to see her. Big smile with her tongue hanging out and that sassy, swishy little walk she had, kinda like a steam roller in a tutu.

We tried and tried to get her adopted. Finally, we had someone interested. They had a dog, and we explained Ethel’s issues. But Ethel May liked their dog. Things went great on the meet, the people loved her and wanted to try. We told them to always feed separately, don’t leave treats around, crate her when you aren’t home and you should be good. We were all so happy. We got happy pictures and reports that things were going well.

And they continued to go well until they got comfortable and decided that they didn’t need to feed separately because the dogs were such good friends. There was a horrible fight over food, and they brought Ethel May back to the shelter. It broke our hearts for her.

We continued to advocate for Ethel May, but we worried that she would live in the shelter for the rest of her life. One of the good things that happened being with us is that we did the slow kill heartworm treatment and she tested negative in February.

We did a big Facebook post on her, and finally we got someone who didn’t have any pets that wanted to meet her. Ethel May and the humans all hit it off — she was particularly charming that day. They wanted to try a foster to adopt. That was last Thursday … we are getting great reports. She is sleeping in bed with them and all the pictures show her looking so very happy.

This dog survived the stress of the shelter for 842 days. For 842 days of living, eating, sleeping in cage in a noisy shelter, she kept her composure. She stayed her sweet, perky bumbling self. That in itself speaks to the character of this sweet girl. We all have our fingers crossed that things will continue to go well and they will adopt her. I really think it might break some of our hearts if she has to come back to the shelter.

Happy endings for Ethel May and animals like her are why we do what we do. It feeds our souls and is why we try so very hard to save these precious souls.

Thought for the week: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

— Maya Angelou

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 765-356-0900 or at

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