“If every morning is Christmas morning for a dog, every *moment* is Christmas morning for Haze!”
– Leah, Haze’s foster mom

There really isn’t any better way to sum up Haze. The six-year-old pooch (was he part hippo?) was just the happiest, best boy. And that tail—wow, did it wag! It wagged when you looked at him. It wagged uncontrollably when he got pets. It never stopped!

Haze first crossed paths with the Connecticut Humane Society by way of an animal control partner, who brought him in for vaccinations and treatment for troublesome ears and skin as part of the pro bono medical support program. Following 6 weeks with animal control, Haze came to CHS full time, so he could capture the heart of a lucky family from one of the thousands of eyeballs turning to CHS for adoption.

After spending 381 days in CHS’ care without a family to call his very own, one could totally understand if Haze’s spirits were dampened. Was it his size? There was a lot to him… his head alone was gigantic. That he was middle-aged? The troublesome knees and hips? His allergies? It certainly wasn’t his personality.

It could’ve been different. A shelter, even for the most wonderful of dogs, can be a stressful place. Symptoms of stress sometimes creep in as behavior issues. But Haze is not most dogs.

“Haze remained his same old happy self. That’s not to say that he wasn’t totally unaffected—we noticed an increase in leash biting and slight resource guarding, two indicators suspected from shelter stress. Staff and volunteers worked on a plan tailored just for Haze to target these and other behaviors (like polite leash walking). Additionally, there was lots of extra enrichment to engage his five senses using music, reading, puzzle feeders, scent cloths, perpetual motion toys, lick mats, and even wind chimes. This is all on top of lots of walks and snuggle time!”
– Rachel, Behavior Coordinator, CHS Waterford

As an added bonus, everyone always made sure Haze had his favorite toy on hand. Over time it got pretty grimy, covered in saliva, dirt, grass, etc. He had an identical second toy but he never took to it—he knew it was an imposter!

Even with robust training and enrichment in place, the shelter isn’t home. It was time for the next best thing—a foster home. There, Haze’s minor behavior issues practically vanished. He loved the car, cuddles, laps, TV (especially baseball and Desperate Housewives) and was known to even be a bit of a bed hog. And he became a bit of a big deal around town, he just had to strut around on his walks carrying his favorite stuffed toy. People would stop to pet him and just smile.

“I loved watching him come meandering over the crest of the hill with his meaty body carrying his toy. He was just a goofy, loveable, uncomplicated soul. He lived for food, walks and snuggle time.”
– Rachel, Behavior Coordinator, CHS Waterford

Between the pandemic and also being in a foster home, Haze was available for adoption by appointment. Interested adopters could have a counseling session via phone then schedule a meet-and-greet. And although there were dozens of phone calls, no one took it to the next level for a meet-and-greet. Until CHS day 381—and just as predicted, once they met in person, Haze and his new family (including a kiddo) would be besties.

“When I first met Haze, I was a little intimidated by his size and strength but after meeting him in medical, all he asked for was a toy to hold in his mouth and lots of attention. I saw him for his periodic check-up and vaccines, and I just KNEW it was his day to be adopted!”
– Dr. Lori Butler, CHS Veterinarian

This summer, Haze has gone from couch surfer to couch potato, and there was even room for his special diet, treats, pills, injections and—the best part—his favorite stuffed animal!