When a small brown dog with a distinctive underbite was surrendered to the Wisconsin Humane Society in early July, it didn’t seem like he’d have trouble finding a home.
The woman surrendering the 4-year-old dog, named Payday, said she took him in after finding him as a stray, but he wasn’t a good fit for her household.
At the shelter, Payday had trouble adjusting to his new environment. While he was full of energy, he was also fearful of new people and situations.
“He’s a pretty feisty dog,” Angela Speed, vice president of communications at the Wisconsin Humane Society, told The Dodo. “He’s a little dog with a big personality.”
When interest in Payday didn’t materialize, the shelter’s media coordinator decided that some publicity might help the little dog find a loving adopter to help him with his behavioral challenges.
But they found so much more than that.
Minutes after Payday was featured on FOX6 News Milwaukee’s Adopt-A-Pet segment, Speed received a call.
WISCONSIN HUMANE SOCIETY
“They told us that one of their viewers, Dwight, called in because he recognized the dog we had featured,” Wisconsin Humane Society wrote in a Facebook post. “He had woken up early last Wednesday to the sounds of FOX6’s morning broadcast, just as our volunteer started describing a little brown dog with the most adorable underbite.”
“Dwight normally turns off his TV every night, but must have left it on by accident — or perhaps thanks to fate,” the post continued. “It only took one glance at the picture for Dwight to immediately recognize Payday.”
WISCONSIN HUMANE SOCIETY
Payday went missing two years ago after getting loose during a walk at night. Dwight had adopted Payday as a gift for his then-10-year-old daughter, and she still missed the dog terribly.
Dwight’s mom, Melissa, rushed over to the shelter to pick up Payday, and as soon as the little dog spotted the familiar face, his whole demeanor changed.
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“You could tell he immediately recognized her, and it was such a joyous reunion. It was magical,” Speed said. “Most people know animal shelters as places where you adopt animals, but reuniting lost animals with their families is a core part of our work. Every time we’re able to reunite an animal with their family, it’s a memorable occasion … It was a privilege to witness it.”
Payday has received a warm welcome, with relatives stopping by the family’s home to visit the pup. “They’re back to their old routine. Payday gets up first in the morning — he does not like to go out at night — and he wakes everyone up,” Speed said. “He has two pittie dog siblings and they’re delighted to have him back, too. They were playing right away.”
After a difficult two years, the family finally feels whole again — all thanks to Payday’s 15 minutes of fame.