Dawson, Dog with 'Heart of Gold,' Has Lived at New York Shelter Over 600 Days

The 3-year-old pup was brought to the Hempstead Animal Shelter as a stray on June 13, 2015

You could do a lot in 606 days.

Sadly, so could Dawson, a dog who has called a cage at a shelter in Wantagh, New York, home for exactly that long.

The 3-year-old terrier/pit bull mix been looking for a loving home for so long — since June 13, 2015 to be exact — that volunteers from the Hempstead Animal Shelter created a Facebook page called “Dawson Needs a Family,” in an effort to help the pup find his forever family.

“He is a really sweet soul who is very affectionate … he loves to just put his head on your lap,” says a post on the page. “Yet, Dawson has spent well over a YEAR stuck [in] the shelter, waiting for someone to come and take him home. Please continue to share so his family can find him.”

Over 2,000 people have shared a post from Feb. 2 which describes Dawson as “a playful pup with a heart of gold.” It says that after a slow introduction the dog bonds very closely with his humans (kids ages 17 and older are what is recommended). A video, above, of the dog looking sad with each passing month received over 100,000 views on Facebook.

While he needs a home without felines, Dawson has the potential to live with other dogs. “A meet and greet is required at the shelter in Wantagh, NY, to assess his compatibility with potential siblings,” the post says, adding that he’s neutered, housebroken and healthy.

So why has the 61 lb. pooch been overlooked for so long?

“I think the biggest reason Dawson is still here is because he is a pit mix,” rescue coordinator Emily Tanen tells PEOPLE in an email. “Unfortunately, in a municipal shelter, the majority of our dog population are pit mixes, so it makes it very hard for them to stand out to potential adopters, and of course, people still have a prejudice against them.”

Adds another shelter volunteer: “It could be that it takes him a little bit of time to put his trust in a human, which is understandable based on what he’s been through in his life, abandoned and cast aside … But once you get him outside and get to know him for a bit, you see the real Dawson, the dog many of us love at the shelter.”

Tanen says Dawson is officially the shelter’s seventh longest resident. If you’re interested in adopting him, fill out an application here and submit it to the shelter’s Adoptions Department.

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