DERWOOD, Md. — If you’ve ever hidden from those devastating Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercials, you might not be emotionally prepared for Juice, a depressed dog in Maryland whose online whimpering is landing him tons of admirers.
Despite his sweet, sorrowful demeanor, 5-year-old Juice hasn’t been able to find a family, and has been under the care of staffers at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center in suburban Washington.
Shelter life can be stressful, so after the mixed-breed dog was adopted and then returned because of a “bad fit,” one of Juice’s caretakers took him home overnight to calm his nerves. The comfort was temporary. Upon returning to the shelter, the lonely dog cried for hours in his kennel.
The MCASAC staff documented his suffering on Facebook, and the video is an arrow directly to the heart of any animal lover. Juice cries, paces around his enclosure, sits dejectedly on a blanket and cries some more.
“We’re afraid that Juice is beginning to lose himself,” the staff wrote. “He needs a home, where he can be himself and regain the confidence and trust that he has lost. … Please, don’t let Juice cry in his kennel anymore.”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the post was shared thousands of times and the shelter was inundated with calls from people looking to adopt the big mournful mutt.
“The response was overwhelming,” MCASAC outreach coordinator Katherine Zenzano said. “We’ve had messages from everywhere. There were a couple from Canada, the Midwest, the West Coast, all asking if they could meet Juice or have him transported.”
Juice’s previous owner surrendered him to the shelter 10 months ago, and Zenzano said the pup’s story is particularly sad because, off the bat, the MCASAC staff thought he was one of the strong ones.
“This dog that we really saw as emotionally stable was now starting to break down and was crying for hours at a time,” she said. “People need to see this, they need to see that, as much as we take pride in taking really good care of the animals, this is not a place for any dog.”
The good news: Juice will probably end up in a great home. The MCASAC adoption counselors are sifting through hundreds of inquiries looking for the best fit.
Zenzano and the rest of the team also are trying to remind hopeful pet parents that, though Juice is one of the lucky few to land some viral publicity, there are thousands of other dogs hoping for the same happy ending.
“There’s a Juice in every county, in every shelter, everywhere,” Zenzano said. “A dog that is struggling, and trying to cope with the difficulty of being in a shelter environment. You may not know about them, and they may not have compelling stories, but they’re there.”