When a puppy arrived at a shelter, he did not imagine that his strange smile would be his biggest impediment to achieving his dream of being loved in a forever home.
Dustin Kelley was going through the list of available puppies at the local shelter when one of them caught his eye.
Unlike the other barking pups in their kennels , this golden retriever named Zeus was sitting in the corner of his cage with his head bowed.
Dustin at the time was not looking to adopt , but when he found out that this very sad looking pup was scheduled to be euthanized the next day due to overcrowding, he changed his mind.
At the shelter they did not allow him to be adopted because of his strange habit of showing his teeth
Although it seems inexplicable, instead of being happy that the puppy had managed to make someone fall in love, the shelter staff was not willing to take it away.
They claimed that the dog was basically “unacceptable” and somewhat dangerous due to its peculiar habit of baring its teeth.
“Shelter staff told me that Zeus had aggressive behaviors like his grin, and that he probably wouldn’t make a very good dog because he wasn’t trained and wasn’t social. But he attracted me to that sad boy who was in the corner of his kennel. I told him I would take him home and if he turned out not to be a good fit in my house, I would have at least given him a few weeks to live,” Dustin recounted.
Ultimately, the shelter agreed to go ahead with the adoption. After completing the paperwork Dustin saw Zeus’s smile for the first time, and it wasn’t what he expected.
I couldn’t believe that this unique little creature was about to be put to sleep forever for the most absurd reason.
“The shelter manager took him out of his kennel and into the lobby so we could leave. I’m not going to lie, I definitely got a little scared at first,” the young man recalled.
For the first few months after coming home, Zeus was still that sad dog at the shelter.
He didn’t smile, he didn’t wag his tail, he didn’t show his personality.
“After the first three months he started smiling all day, every day, and that’s when I realized he was showing his teeth because he was excited, not because he was angry,” Dustin said.
No one could understand that his way of showing his happiness was a little different.
But little by little this pup began to trust his new father, and his smile began to appear.
Zeus really was lucky to have met his angel on his way.
“I think once he realized he wasn’t going to give it up and this was his home now, he really opened up and his fun loving personality started to shine through,” Dustin said, touched.
Five years later, Zeus’ smile has become his adorable trademark.
They all love it!
“It’s usually the center of attention at your vet’s office, the groomer, the pet store, Starbucks and anywhere we frequent. Once they see it they yell that the smiling puppy is back, and they all run out to see it.”
From death row he became a true being of light and a celebrity
Dustin couldn’t imagine a more perfect dog and he’s so glad he took a chance on Zeus, and that Zeus took a chance on him.
“He has been with me through some of the worst moments of my life. And every bad day, her smile has made me smile. I could have adopted him, but he was definitely the one who rescued me.”
It is a magnificent story that demonstrates in the most graphic way that adoption truly changes lives. And it is not necessarily the puppies who are transformed, we are the humans who end up being touched by these unique creatures.