Have you ever added a pet to your home only to find out later that it was a bad idea or maybe just not a good fit? I’m not talking about failure to think through the responsibilities of pet ownership, but rather adopting an animal whose temperament or habits just didn’t mesh well with your human family members — despite best efforts all the way around.
If you haven’t experienced this yourself, then maybe you know someone who has. You’re probably at least acquainted with the concept of “second chance” pet adoptions. You know, where a pet is returned to the shelter, for whatever reason, and given the chance to find a new home with a different, perhaps more suitable, family.
That’s precisely what happened to one lovable canine known as Rhino Lightning (AKA the coolest dog name ever). His story is truly a happily ever after tale that’s touching the Internet’s heart — and with good reason.
Rhino was returned to a Utah animal shelter because he wasn’t the right match for the family he’d initially been placed with. His original owners described 65-pound Rhino as being “unaware of his size,” which was causing some problems in that household with four young children.
According to Deann Shepherd, the director of Marketing and Communications for the Humane Society of Utah, it’s not uncommon for animals to come in with a toy or maybe even a letter.
But Rhino’s case was different.
He came in with something very unusual: A colorful little notebook with pages of information about Rhino, written by an 8-year-old girl.
“This is the first time a dog came in with a notebook from a child with instructions,” Shepherd tells Babble.
The 2×4-inch notebook contained 16 pages worth of notes and instructions for Rhino’s new owner, which began with this adorable opener: “Hi, if you are reading this then you must own Rino now. He was my puppy.”
The little girl went on to give helpful instructions and important tidbits about the dog’s likes and dislikes, including the fact that “he likes sleeping under blankets.” It also came with some requests, like “please don’t change his name,” and “take him on at least 2 or 3 runs a day.”
Finally, the little girl’s note concluded with this sweet declaration: “Tell Rhino I love and miss him every night.”
(Seriously, who’s cutting onions in here?!)
The little girl also described Rhino as “a striped dream” and stipulated that he needed a dog sibling. But before the heartache of the little girl and Rhino being separated completely tears your heart out, hold on for a moment — because this story really does end in a way that will restore your faith in humanity.
Apparently, Melanie Hill of Clearfield, Utah saw Rhino’s story in the local news soon after, and knew instantly: “That’s my dog.”
Hill visited Rhino at the shelter and made sure he got along with her dog Bentleigh —she understood the importance of the whole dog sibling thing — and they got along great!
Rhino has a new home where he is loved, wanted and fits right in with the family. In addition to gaining a canine friend, his new owner reports gaining peace of mind over something she’s been struggling with her whole life.
According to ABC News, Hill herself was adopted and reports to having lingering “bitterness” toward her birth mother. But almost instantaneously, that little 8-year-old girl’s reaction to returning her dog showed Hill how much giving up someone you love can hurt.
“Rhino is in his forever home,” says Hill. “I want this little girl to know her puppy is smothered in love.”
There’s probably no way this “striped dream” of a dog can know how many hearts he’s touched. But the people who love him know. And now we know, too.
(Is someone cutting onions at your house, too?)
h/t: ABC News