For the past 11 years, the only home Blue Bear had ever known was with his dad — but that all changed last week.
Blue Bear’s dad had nowhere to go himself, so the senior mastiff found himself at Trenton Animals Rock. Blue Bear didn’t understand why he was in a shelter or why his dad wouldn’t stop crying. He barked and barked, scaring the shelter workers until his dad told him to sit, and Danielle Gletow approached him.
“I went over to him, and he immediately leaned his head into my waist and let me pet him,” Gletow, director of Trenton Animals Rock, told The Dodo. “It was just heartbreaking.”
Gletow realized Blue Bear wasn’t aggressive — he was just confused and sad. Gletow promised Blue Bear’s owner that the dog wouldn’t have to spend the night in the shelter and set about finding him a foster situation. But without the only family he’d ever known, Blue Bear started crying.
“We tried to put Blue Bear in a kennel just while we collected ourselves and tried to make some calls, and he was just super sad,” Gletow said. “So we brought him into the office, and he laid his head in my lap.”
“Every chance he got, he’d go over to the door and sit in front of it crying,” she added. “He turned around, and he had literal tears coming down his face. I’m not exaggerating — literal tears.”
Gletow promised Blue Bear she wouldn’t leave the shelter that night until he found a temporary home. But at 130 pounds with severe arthritis in his back legs, she knew placing Blue Bear wouldn’t be easy.
Gletow filmed a Facebook Live video of Blue Bear, and suddenly, calls and messages from all over the country started coming in.
Luckily, a local foster named Madison also saw the heartbreaking video and volunteered to take Blue Bear so he could start to decompress. At Madison’s house, Blue Bear finally began to relax.
“We put a pillow on the floor, and he laid his head down on the pillow, and Madison and I just sat with him and snuggled him and spent some time,” Gletow said. “He’s really sweet. He’s like a gentle giant.”
Gletow is still in touch with Blue Bear’s dad, but while his situation remains unstable, she’s trying to give Blue Bear a comfortable place to spend his golden years.
“We’re going to keep him in foster care for a while to let him decompress,” Gletow said. “Once the vet has a chance to see him and we know what his needs are, we’ll start looking for a home with someone familiar with large-breed dogs, and we’ll get him on supplements and possibly acupuncture.”
Blue Bear is just one example of how Trenton Animals Rock is trying to help the pets in their community.
“A lot of people in this city don’t know that this is a no-kill shelter, so they’re afraid to call us,” Gletow said. “We’ve tried to make this shelter a more welcoming place for the city, we’re trying to show people that we can be a resource. They don’t have to be afraid to reach out if they need help before it becomes critical.”
And while Blue Bear’s future is still uncertain, one thing is for sure — there will be no more tears.