This distinguished gentleman is finally living up to his namesake now that he's home with his new family. 

By Ali Rutherford
February 14, 2021
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Happy, a sweet senior dog in Pennsylvania, had his happiest day yet when he was adopted earlier this month after spending seven years in a shelter. He'd been shuffled between a kennel and another local rescue in Georgia for a few years before heading north to the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter in Clarks Summit, Pa., where he found his new owner. 

Norm Benzelski, Happy's new owner, told Daily Paws that his aunt had shown him a Facebook photo of Happy posted by Griffin Pond, and it was love at first sight. "I didn't read what they had wrote about him at first," Benzelski said. "I just saw him and said 'that's my boy'."

Benzelski had recently lost his dog Holly, another senior pup he adopted in 2018. It was Holly, he said, that made him realize he only wanted to adopt older or senior rescues in the future. Benzelski wasn't sure he was emotionally ready to bring another dog home just yet, but once he read Happy's story and saw his adorable face, he immediately hopped in the car to make the two-hour trip to Griffin Pond.

Credit: Courtesy of Norm Benzelski

"I felt a little sad knowing how long he had spent in the shelter," he said, "but I'm so grateful for Griffin Pond Animal Shelter as well as their workers and volunteers. It takes a special kind of person to help and give love to animals like Happy every day." 

Ashley Wolo, executive director at Griffin Pond, told Daily Paws it only took six days to get Happy to his forever home once he landed at their shelter. She described the pup as "a sweet boy," adding that she really couldn't understand why he was overlooked for so long. 

"The best thing about him is that his personality remained pure and loving despite living in a shelter/kennel for about seven years," Wolo said. "The day of his arrival, after a trip through several states, and after meeting several new and unfamiliar faces, he hopped out of that transport vehicle and came right up to us to greet us and show us how perfect he is." 

She added that stories like Happy's are why she and everyone else at Griffin Pond do the work that they do. "Rescue work is hard. It takes a lot, and there are many sad days when being involved in this field, but it's stories like this that keep us going," Wolo said. 

As for Happy, he's just starting to get acclimated to life in his new forever home. Benzelski said Happy is very curious and investigates every little thing in the apartment. Understandably, the senior pup is a bit cautious since he hasn't been in a real home for so long. But Happy's new dad is not worried. 

"I think he's enjoying the peace and quiet, and although he's probably unsure and a little anxious," Benzelski said. "I can tell he is definitely 'happy' to be home."