“Nobody ever asks to meet Pirate.” That is what an Oahu SPCA staffer told Jennifer Hoyt when she first visited the shelter’s longest running inhabitant, a senior mixed breed female called Pirate. Founded in 2009, the independently run shelter is dedicated to their “no kill” policy and for 7 years, Pirate lived there, a benefactor of that philosophy.
Jennifer Hoyt was recently stationed in Hawaii as a member of the US Army and planned to spend some time volunteering at a shelter. She knew she wanted to adopt a dog but had agreed with her fiancé, Dennis Shaffer, also Army, to wait until he arrived several months later. The couple planned to find a house, explore their new surroundings, and adopt a dog once they were fully settled.
Excited at the prospect of bringing a pup into their home, Jennifer began poking around online looking at dogs that were available for adoption. She noticed Pirate and felt an immediate draw to her, despite her age and somewhat sad looking demeanor. As she dug deeper into the Instagram page of the Oahu SPCA, she realized that Pirate had been there for a long time. A devastatingly long 7 years.
Overcome with sadness and a need to make things better for Pirate, Jennifer told Dennis through tears about the rejected dog and her situation. Dennis agreed that Jennifer should at least meet her, which was arranged for the next day.
During that first visit, Pirate and Jennifer went outside but Pirate wasn’t very interested in anything but a few blades of grass. “She didn’t look at me; she didn’t look at anything,” Hoyt said. “She was emotionally detached. That broke my heart.”
This ignited a fire in Hoyt’s belly for the passed over pup. Determined to improve Pirate’s life, she brought her a new bed and toy, which was met with some reluctance at first. After a while, though, Pirate warmed to the idea of the bed and Jennifer, even coming over to give her a nose nudge in thanks.
A Bond is Formed
Jennifer started visiting Pirate in her kennel nearly every day, sometimes spending up to eight hours by her new friend’s side. Her heart just couldn’t stand being away from her and guilt consumed her when she went out to have fun with friends, knowing Pirate was lonely and sad without her.
As the bond between the two grew, Jennifer knew she would eventually adopt Pirate. Jennifer got things in order and brought her home to her forever family on July 13, 2017.
Naturally, it took some time for the family of three to work out how to live in harmony after Pirate spent half of her life living in a cold, hard kennel. Pirate was very closely bonded to Jennifer and seemed a bit threatened by Dennis’s arrival on the scene. Patience, love, and persistence paid off and Pirate came around, loving Dennis with all of her puppy heart.
Pirate now goes by Pirate Marie and if her Instagram account is any indication, she is living the high life with her beloved people. Jennifer and Dennis love having Pirate Marie around and look forward to spending every single day of her new life as a family.
If Pirate Marie could, she would tell us that Jennifer and Dennis were worth the wait.
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