Stuart spent fourteen long years dreaming of a family, but instead, his best years were lost to the confines of kennels.
He entered Friends of Strays animal shelter in Princeton, Illinois, and since then, he has seen the same four walls for over a decade.
After a couple of failed adoptions and returns, he slowly lost all hope of ever finding a home. However, one day, everything changed.
At 19 years old, Stuart was about to experience what it was like to sleep on a comfy bed and have someone who loves you unconditionally for the first time in his life.
Stuart was only four years old in 2011 when this picture was taken. It was the last photo the shelter posted to help find him a forever home.
Sadly, the system failed Stuart as well as many other dogs who end up spending most of their life in a shelter.
Although life in a shelter is definitely better than life on the streets, unfortunately, it can never compare to the warmth and happiness that a home can provide.
Emily Wozniak, a former Friends of Strays employee, was extremely saddened by the fact that many dogs end up spending most of their life there.
She told The Dodo, “It really broke my heart to know that there have been dogs there for 14, 10, 8, 5 years, like Stuart. So I posted his story [on TikTok] in hopes to find him a home.”
Stuart’s story went viral and he got a lot of attention from people all over the country.
Natalie Snyder, from Manistee, Michigan, fell in love with Stuart and was determined to bring him home.
Natalie, who is also the founder of Repo’s Rescues, a non-profit animal rescue organization, decided to drive five hours in order to adopt this beautiful 19-year-old senior dog who has been in the shelter for 14 years.
But, when she arrived at the shelter in Illinois, they told her that she couldn’t adopt him after all. They believed that he was happy there and that he should spend the rest of his life at the shelter.
Natalie was devastated and brokenhearted.
But, after the rest of the community pushed very publicly for the shelter to allow the adoption for Stuart’s own good, everything changed.
“They called me a day later when I was back home. They allowed his adoption and I could bring Stuart home,” Natalie told The Dodo.
She didn’t stop fighting for him, and in the end, it was worth it.
She wrote on her Facebook. “I’ll be picking up Stuart to come home and retire with me, adopted, as mine. I am exhausted and emotional and so thankful for this,”
No more concrete kennel and loud noises for Stuart.
He waited 14 years, but his luck finally turned, and slowly but surely, he was adjusting to a life at home.
@nataliejosnyder #fyp #ReTokforNature ♬ State Lines – Novo Amor
Because of Stuart, many other seniors at his shelter got adopted. His story inspired thousands of people to do good… to do better.
On August 14, 2023, Stuart turned 20 years old, but this time, he is surrounded by those who love him unconditionally.
“His kidneys are old and tired, but he’s doing fantastic considering what he’s endured. He’s the boss around here, and deserves every bit of spoiling that he gets. I’m thankful for every minute with Stu, his silver muzzle and his rough old coat. He’s my boy,” Natalie said.
Although time is fragile and there is nothing any of us can do to give Stuart those 14 years back, the fact that at least he will spend his last days happy, sleeping on a warm bed, is comforting.