Pit Bull 'Scared of the World' After Rescue from Neglect Case Finds Home Where He Feels Safe

Huck the pit bull mix was too scared to walk upright after his rescue but is now thriving in a forever home thanks to the BISSELL Pet Foundation and Citrus County Animal Services

Huck the adopted dog
Photo: Pamela Rice

Huck the dog is all smiles now after several scary months.

The pit bull mix was one of 80 dogs rescued from a neglect case and brought to Santa Rosa County Animal Services in Florida, according to a release from the BISSELL Pet Foundation. Unfortunately, the Santa Rosa County Animal Services, an open admission shelter, was already at capacity when the intake of 80 dogs arrived at their doors.

To ensure that each of the 80 canines and all the other pets at Santa Rosa County Animal Services had a fair chance of finding their ideal homes, the BISSELL Pet Foundation helped organize a statewide emergency relief effort.

For the effort, the BISSELL Pet Foundation encouraged animal shelters across Florida with available space to transfer adoptable pets from the full Santa Rosa County Animal Services shelter to their facilities. Numerous Florida shelters answered the call, each taking at least five pets from Santa Rosa County Animal Services.

As part of the BISSELL Pet Foundation's plan, Huck was transferred to Citrus County Animal Services. Shortly after his rescue, he arrived at the shelter "scared of the world." Because of his difficult past, fearful Huck had a hard time walking and standing upright, opting to crawl around on his leash instead.

Huck the adopted dog
Citrus County Animal Services

"When Huck arrived at the shelter, he was very shut down and fearful. This behavior was likely a result of the improper care he had received. He seemed to be very grateful to his rescuers and knew that we were here to help him; he would crawl into your lap with only slight coaxing," Colleen M. Yarbrough, the animal services director at Citrus County Animal Services, told PEOPLE.

But after a few days of dedicated care at Citrus County Animal Services, Huck started to open up and show off his loveable personality. This sweet demeanor quickly won over a doting pet parent.

"It was wonderful to watch Huck's personality blossom. He remained a quiet boy but came out of his shell and showed us all what a sweet, loving dog he truly is, " Yarbrough added.

As part of their relief effort, the BISSELL Pet Foundation hosted a statewide emergency "Empty the Shelters" reduced-fee adoption event in February for Santa Rosa County Animal Services and the shelters that took in pets from the at-capacity facility. The nonprofit covered adoption fees for the 11 shelters present at the event and helped 290 pets find forever homes, including Huck.

Huck the adopted dog
Pamela Rice

"When I went in to see the dogs, I said a prayer because we wanted a smaller dog. So I said to God, 'If there is a dog in there that I'm supposed to have, I'll take him.' Huck followed me around at the store, and I knew he was the one. I have been blessed each and every day since," Pamela Rice, Huck's new owner, said in a statement.

Huck now lives with Rice, her dog Beau, and cat Underfoot and likes to spend his days relaxing and giving kisses.

"We hope that Huck's story helps others realize that animal welfare concerns are community-wide issues that take collaboration from many different people and agencies to address. Huck is a wonderful example of a dog who, based on breed, age, and/or condition, may be passed up in a shelter despite being an amazing family pet who has so much love to give. We are honored to have been a part of his story and hope that it will help others be more open when selecting their new family members," Yarbrough said of what she hopes others take away from his story.

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