A rescue dog’s heartbreaking cries after arriving at a shelter has moved people to tears, as workers pleaded for help to find her a home.
Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, based in Ontario, Canada, shared a video to their TikTok page, @dogtalesrescue, of Nellie on Tuesday.
She arrived at the shelter from Thailand around three weeks ago and has struggled to adjust.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates every year around 6.3 million animals enter U.S. shelters, down from 7.2 million in 2011.
Of that figure, roughly 3.1 million are dogs, and 3.2 million are cats. Some 920,000 animals, around 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats, are euthanized, although this figure has also declined from 2.6 million overall in 2011.
Some do find new homes, with 4.1 million animals adopted each year, some 2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats. While 810,000 animals are reunited with their owners, with 710,000 dogs and 100,000 cats going back home.
Staff and volunteers have been working to help Nellie settle in, as they uploaded a video about her, in the hope that a new owner might be found.
“Nellie spends hours and hours crying in her room because the shelter environment is very hard for her,” the on-screen text reads.
“She desperately needs to be in a home. We believe that she suffers from separation anxiety and are looking for a family that has experience with this.”
The video caption reads: “We are desperately asking you to share Nellie as she needs out of the shelter environment.”
TikToker Spikesmomma wrote: “This is the video that should be shared everywhere when a family surrenders their dog. Absolutely heartbreaking,” while Miss:Keleisha commented: “This breaks my heart I’m in tears.”
TikTok user Judy wrote: “That just shattered my heart I wish I could take her home.”
The clip has amassed more than 1 million views, and Sarah Huehn, from the veterinary technician team at Dog Tales Rescue And Sanctuary, told Newsweek about Nellie.
Huehn said the sanctuary estimated she is around 9 years old and is a mixed breed. Nellie came into their care from a Thai shelter, called Soi Dog Foundation, where she arrived in 2019.
“There isn’t much known about her life before arriving at Soi Dog [Foundation], so we can only imagine what she has been through,” Huehn said.
As the clip shows, Nellie struggled to adjust, as Huehn shared more about the dog’s journey so far, saying she was “timid” and showed “signs of anxiety” almost immediately.
Huehn said: “At first, she would whine at different times throughout the day, especially when people would walk past her room. She was also hard to feed, as she was so anxious that she needed to be hand-fed.
“We started her immediately on medication to help ease her anxiety—which worked only for a few days. We have since changed the medication she was on to a stronger anxiety medication, which does seem to work for her.
“The problem with these types of medication is that the dog taking them must be relaxed to feel the effects,” Huehn said. “If the dog is in a constant state of anxiety like Nellie, they are able to fight the medication, and never truly relax.
“When left alone, Nellie begins to whine and howl as seen in the video, as well as try to escape her room,” Huehn said. “Since the video was posted, we have since moved her to a larger room in an area with fewer people moving around, and this has helped.”
Huehn takes Nellie home each night, to stay with her, her five dogs, four cats, husband and sons, 7 and 3. She said: “Of course, she gets a break each night when she comes home with me… while not ideal, we enjoy providing Nellie with some rest time away from the kennel.”
The team has continually made adjustments to make Nellie more comfortable. Huehn said: “Since arriving, we have implemented many things for Nellie to help make her life more enjoyable and less stressful.
“We have continued with her medication, as well as a Thundershirt [dog-anxiety T-shirt] that she wears on her most stressful days.”
Volunteers spend hours walking Nellie, taking her outside and socializing with her, while she’s given treats and puzzles to help keep her stimulated.
Huehn said there have been a few applications to adopt Nellie, but none was the right fit for her requirements.
“Nellie suffers from severe separation anxiety, and requires an owner that has extensive knowledge in this area,” Huehn said. “She has not been tested in a home by herself, so we need someone who can slowly work up to this with her.
“The family must also be willing to accept that she may never be able to be left alone due to her anxiety.”
The chart below, provided by Statista, shows animals in shelter figures.
An “ideal” situation is someone who works from home or is retired, but also active as Nellie loves spending most of her time outside.
Huehn said: “A home without other animals is ideal as Nellie can be dog-selective and a little grumpy if other animals get too much in her personal space. She is a lovebug and enjoys affection.
“She’s the definition of a couch potato, and when, in a home setting, she is completely relaxed, with no whining or crying. She simply sleeps on the couch, observes her surroundings and enjoys a good belly-rub,” Huehn said.
Anyone wishing to adopt Nellie can apply through the sanctuary’s website, and there has been an influx of potential owners responding on TikTok.
Svgmomma wrote: “Just filled out an application. I’m from MI [Michigan]. I can’t take this. It’s breaking my heart!! I will love her.”
TikToker Kimberly commented: “I’ll literally come get her this Friday. I’m in Ottawa and she’ll live her best life of toys, treats, cuddles and plenty of walks.”
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