Adopted and Returned Six Times, Big Red Never Gave up

Big Red was adopted out and returned six times to the Humane Society of Walden in New York. Being bounced around from home to home took its toll on the redbone coonhound. It was also heartbreaking for the staff and volunteers at the no-kill shelter. Each failed adoption resulted in another black mark on Big Red’s profile. He needed a home without dogs, cats and children and because of food aggression issues he needed an experienced handler.

For two years Big Red lived full-time at the shelter waiting for that special someone to come along and see his true potential. That happened in September and Big Red celebrated Christmas in his new home!

Big Red also never gave up according to shelter staff and volunteers who described him as having an indomitable spirit. He was eager to learn and inquisitive about what was going on around him. And there were the moments of such delicacy that tore at all of their heartstrings. He especially won the heart of Kimberly Cooper, Humane Society of Walden President.

“There were many times that I cried about Big Red and wondered what I could do to help him,” Cooper said.

BigRedandKimberlyKimberly Cooper, president of the Humane Society of Walden, spent hours working with Big Red to help get him adopted. 

Because not many volunteers handled Big Red, he lacked stimulation. Board members, including Cooper, began taking turns walking the hound. They hid biscuits in the fenced-in yard for him to find and worked with him on obstacle courses. Big Red also inspired the weekly off-site dog walks in a local park that help to give all of the dogs a break from the shelter environment. While all of these activities were certainly helping Big Red, it wasn’t enough.

“As much as we try to provide for animals in the shelter, it’s still a shelter,” Cooper said. “Every dog has different needs and the shelter environment is especially hard on working breeds like Big Red.”

Cooper enlisted the help of David Kurlander, dog trainer and certified animal behaviorist who specializes in working with hunting breeds.

“I worked one-on-one with David and Big Red and we definitely made progress,” Cooper said. “But I could see that no matter how much we worked with him it would never be enough. Big Red needed to get out of the shelter.”

So in September Cooper took him home to her farm. At first, he lived in the heated barn while she continued to work on his training. Then she slowly introduced him one-by-one to her three pit bulls. They took walks together and eventually Big Red was brought into the house where he met the cats. Everything went smoothly, and Big Red moved into the house with the other pets.

Now that she had given him the opportunity to succeed, Cooper realized that there was no way she could allow yet another person to fail him. In October she adopted Big Red into her family.

BigRedwithbuddies-storyimagBig Red (second from right) with his new siblings.

“It was a long process to integrate him into our home and it took a lot of patience,” Cooper said. “When you adopt a dog you have to deal with their limits, you can’t assume you can mold them into what you want them to be.”

Big Red is now living his dream. He shares not only a home and family but also a bed, food, treats and toys with his four-legged siblings. In just a few months of life in his new home, this stunning hound has gained weight and built muscle. He runs like the wind and sleeps like a baby.

BigRedwithCat-storyimage2Big Red enjoys sharing a bed with one of his new siblings.

Those who worked closely with Big Red at the Humane Society of Walden said that he hasn’t become a new dog. They know that he was always this amazing dog just waiting for the right person to help him show his true colors

“The trainer told us that Big Red needed a pack leader he could trust. That was something he could never get being bounced around from home to home,” Cooper said. “He felt safe and secure enough in our home that he could relax and be his true self. He brings a lot of life into our house and we feel very fortunate to have him.”

Big Red had a huge support network while living at the Humane Society of Walden. One of his videos was viewed more than 14,000 times. 

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Photos courtesy of Kimberly Cooper

124 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven2 months ago

thank you

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Jim V
Jim Ven2 months ago

thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks

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K M
K M3 months ago

I'm glad it was a no kill shelter!

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K M
K M3 months ago

Thanks for not giving up on him. It's great for both you and him. I wish you the best for the future.

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Sophie M
Sophie L3 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Joan E
Joan E3 months ago

Touching story. Thanks for not giving up on this special dog.

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Jacqueline Baruch
Jacqueline Baruch3 months ago

Thank you for your love and patience for Big Red. Blessings to your family.

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer3 months ago

A really great story.

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