Regaining his health was actually the easiest part.

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Since May, followers of the Pennsylvania SPCA's social media accounts have been receiving updates on Pepe, an adorably energetic pit bull mix. The happy fellow had been brought into the shelter the previous October and was finding shelter life particularly hard. So the PSPCA pulled out all the stops, making him the subject of weekly social media updates that searched for a forever home to call his own. Then, on October 18, the good news finally came: Pepe had been adopted.

When Pepe was first brought to the PSPCA from Philadelphia Animal Control on Oct. 26, 2020, the poor pupper was emaciated—the shelter lists his intake weight at 38.8 pounds—and workers suspected that he had been abused by his previous owner. The PSPCA slowly rehabilitated Pepe back to full strength, a process that took about two months and, as the PSCPA's Twitter account said, "would turn out to be the easiest part of his journey."

pittie adopted after 300 day in shelter
Credit: Courtesy of Pennsylvania SPCA / Twitter

A smart, outgoing doggo, Pepe found life in the shelter to be increasingly stressful.

"This is obviously not a long-term living place for any dog or cat," PSPCA Manager of Lifesaving Maddie Bernstein tells Daily Paws. "[Animals] can show stress in a lot of ways and for a lot of dogs that can manifest in what we call kennel stress."

Every day, he would joyfully bound out for car rides or long walks, but when it was time to bring him back to the kennel, Pepe would cry and pant. Once in the kennel, Bernstein says Pepe would exhibit stress behaviors. He would jump high to attempt an escape and injure himself by pushing his face into the sides of the kennel, trying to see visitors and the other dogs.

As the days at the shelter turned into months, the PSPCA crew ramped up its efforts to find Pepe a forever home before the stress behaviors became unmanageable. However, it would ultimately take quite a while before a good fit could be found.

"I think his biggest barrier was his inability to live with other dogs," Bernstein says. "He would pull towards them and bark loudly and just come in a little hot. So we had to find a home with no other dogs or cats and a home with no young children because of his intense energy levels."

But last month—exactly 348 days after he was brought in—Pepe found his forever family. Rather than having a big celebration, the PSPCA opted for a more subdued farewell to keep the spirited pupper from getting too amped up in the moment. Staff took photos of Pepe before he quietly went home with his new family, and announced his big news to volunteers and friends of the PSPCA social media.

"Pepe's story is not an uncommon one. There are so many deserving dogs in shelters who get overlooked for various reasons," the PSPCA wrote on Twitter. "Dogs like Pepe are our reasons—they are our whys. And we know they are yours, too."

From the looks of it, the sweet, snuggly pooch is fitting right in at his new home, 348 days in the making.