ROGERSVILLE — Nearly three months after being shot in the face and then dropped off at the Hawkins County Humane Society, little Riley finally has her “furever home.”
When an animal is adopted from the HCHS, staff members like to post on Facebook that it just got its “furever home.”
Following a serious surgery, medication regimens and much recovery, on Saturday Riley was picked up by her new owner, Brittany Davis, who took Riley to live at her new home on a farm near Rogersville.
On July 18, Riley was brought to the HCHS by a woman who claimed that her neighbor had shot Riley in the face because he didn’t want her.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office investigated the allegation and interviewed the suspect and his family, but the shooting was denied by the family and there wasn’t enough evidence to place charges. Ordinarily, the HCHS doesn’t take injured animals because it doesn’t have the resources to care for them, but an exception was made in Riley’s case. After the public heard about Riley’s story, donations were made that paid for medical treatment and other necessities. Before long there was a list of 25 families who wanted to adopt Riley.
Last week the HCHS posted online that Riley had recovered enough to be adopted. HCHS assistant manager Sandy Behnke said Davis followed Riley’s story in the news, and that’s how she became interested in adopting Riley.
“She came in several days and played with her,” Behnke said. “She just couldn’t walk away from her. Supposedly they have a 20-acre farm, so Riley will have plenty of room to run around, which is what she needed. We really hated to see Riley go, but she needed to be out of that cage, and I know she’s much happier now.”
HCHS Manager Vanessa Collins had especially become attached to Riley. Collins helped nurse Riley back to heath, and they developed a bond.
Riley actually became Collins’ protector and would always stand between Collins and strangers, both human and animal.
When Riley was adopted, Collins was so upset she had to take the rest of the day off.
“Of course her story touched me, but from the moment she came in she was special,” Collins said. “It’s part of the job that really sucks. You get attached and you’ve got to let them go. She’s got a good life and a good family, but it’s hard to let her go.”
Dealing with abandoned and neglected animals every day, the staff at HCHS are used to seeing the effects that bad treatment has on different dogs. Some become overly aggressive, and some become overly defensive.
Despite being shot in the face, however, Riley hadn’t given up on humans and still had a lot of love to give.
During business hours, Riley had free run of the HCHS offices and was there to greet everyone who came in the front door. That’s probably a big reason she had a waiting list of 25 people who wanted to adopt her.
The Davises were chosen basically because they responded first after notice was posted that Riley was up for adoption. The family had also adopted from the HCHS before and made “generous donations.”
Collins said she couldn’t ask for a better family for Riley.
“They came to look at Riley last Thursday and spend time with her, and they were walking her in the back lot,” Collins said. “I was tagging along behind them, and she actually stopped and waited on me. I actually had to go back in because she wanted to stay with me and wouldn’t pay any attention to them.”
Collins added, “The day they came and got her they had to send me home. I cried all night. I’ve never gotten that attached to a dog working here, but that one tore me, and I’m still sad about it.”