Dog spent 1,007 days at Delaware shelter. Now she has family she ‘wholeheartedly loves’

Tessy the dog was the longest resident at a Delaware animal shelter, logging 1,007 days there.

Staff worked hard for years to get her adopted, and now she’s finally found a home.

Tessy came to the shelter in Rehoboth Beach in January 2021 from an overcrowded shelter in Texas, where she was at risk for euthanasia, Humane Animal Partners said on Facebook.

Tessy, a now 5-year-old black Labrador retriever mix, experienced issues with other animals and people when she first arrived at the shelter, staff said.

The shelter tried often to get Tessy adopted, working on her behavioral issues and posting about her on Facebook. Over the years, the number of days in the posts ticked up from 62 days at the shelter to 250 days to 750 days to 989 days.

“While we here at HAP think she’s the goodest girl, we hope you think so too and decide to take a chance on her!” staff wrote in the post at the 750-day mark.

Although Tessy was nervous when she arrived at the shelter in Delaware, she eventually settled in and her personality began to shine through, staff said. She’s described as a loving, intelligent dog who loves the beach and picks up commands easily.

“Our staff often jokes that Tessy doesn’t just ‘like’ her people, she wholeheartedly loves you,” the shelter said Oct. 4.

Tessy was nervous around strangers during her time at the shelter, the shelter said.

“She could have been somewhere where she never had positive exposure to strangers. So, she put up her defense mechanisms, which for a dog, is going to be lunging, barking and snarling. That’s their way of telling somebody not to come any closer,” HAP’s Sussex County director Leigh McKinley told the Cape Gazette.

Because she spent so much time at the shelter, staff recommended she be placed in a home without children where she was the only pet. Over the course of Tessy’s more than two-and-a-half years at the shelter, staff used “specialized training techniques” to prepare her to enter a home.

“She can still be a little unsure of strangers at first, but once she realizes nobody wants to hurt her, she melts into an affectionate ball of love,” staff wrote in January 2022. They said one positive interaction is all it takes to become her best friend.

Staff members had wanted to get Tessy adopted before she had been at the shelter for 1,000 days, but they didn’t miss their goal by much.

Now, all the training and posting has paid off. Tessy has found her home.

“Her story. Her smile. I’m going to cry,” one of Tessy’s new parents told the Cape Gazette. “We’re going to call her ‘Tessy Boo Boo.’”

Rehoboth Beach is about 40 miles southeast of Dover.

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