Seattle Humane helped Pretty Girl get adopted in four days with a touching social media push
Pretty Girl is feeling beautiful again.
The 11-year-old dog arrived at Seattle Humane in October after she was surrendered by her family of 11 years.
"Pretty Girl was surrendered to a shelter in Central Washington by her original owners after 11 years due to ongoing stress caused by a new baby in the home. We brought her to Seattle Humane through our Lifesaver Rescue transfer program on Oct. 24," Brandon Macz, Seattle Humane's PR & social media specialist, tells PEOPLE.
Pretty was understandably "shut down" when she got to Seattle Humane. After 11 years in a loving home, she was overwhelmed by the shelter's loud noises and foreign environments.
Shortly after moving into Seattle Humane, Pretty Girl caught the attention of Macz, who was meeting new arrivals to highlight on the shelter's social media accounts.
"The way she looked at me, I couldn't resist going into her kennel and sitting with her. It was surprising how quickly she climbed into my lap and sought attention," he recalls.
"Senior pets usually take longer to get adopted. People assume they have some underlying medical or behavioral challenges, and sharing more of their backstory often helps attract more attention. I felt it was important to let people know that this was a dog who had been in the same home her entire life and that the shelter environment was new and scary for her so people understood why she looked sad and might shy away from them if they tried to interact with her," Macz explains of the inspiration for his social posts.
Pretty Girl's story got a "positive response" on Instagram and Facebook and took off on TikTok. The video post shows Pretty Girl sitting in Macz's lap, looking up at him tenderly as he pets her, and shares the dog's story in text over the clip. The TikTok went on to get over 670,000 views.
"It was great to see Pretty Girl's story resonate with so many people and to have so many people rooting for her. However, it was disappointing to see so many people blaming and shaming her original owners for making a very difficult decision. Surrendering a pet is very hard and is often due to multiple factors," Macz says.
"What we know to be true is that people who abandon pets rather than go through the proper channels to surrender or rehome them often do so because they're afraid of being judged. We want people to know that we will do everything possible to help them, whether it's providing them with resources to keep their pets in the home or taking on the task of matching their pets with a home more suitable for them and their needs," he adds.
Overall, the social media support supercharged Pretty Girl's adoption search. After four days at Seattle Humane, the senior canine found a new home with "a lovely older couple who could provide her with a calm, loving environment."
The adopters heard about Pretty Girl from Seattle Huamne's Facebook post and were among the dozens of animal lovers who reached out about the pup.
"She did have plenty of suitors from all over the country emailing or calling into our adoption team, claiming they were ready to buy a plane ticket to get to Pretty Girl," Macz says.
The shelter employee hopes that Pretty Girl's story inspires more people to adopt pets because "there are overcrowded shelters in every state in this country that need local adopters to step up."
In a follow-up TikTok, Macz provides an update on Pretty Girl's adoption and encourages the numerous people who applied to adopt the dog to seek a different rescue pet to bring home.
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"I hope more people come to shelters looking for older pets. We're never lacking in kittens and puppies, but older pets need homes too. They know who they are, and you're more likely to get what you see. Pretty Girl showed us a sweet dog who found herself in a strange and frightening situation but didn't let it stop her from loving and trusting again. Every pet has a story, and it shouldn't end in a shelter," Macz tells PEOPLE.
Pretty Girl's story is in its next chapter. According to Macz, the pooch is settling into her new home nicely and is decompressing after her time in the shelter.
To learn more about Seattle Humane and support its life-saving work, visit the organization's website.
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