After Spending 200 Days In A Shelter: The Heartwarming Journey of Ernie and His Combat Veteran Family – Animal News

After Spending 200 Days In A Shelter: The Heartwarming Journey of Ernie and His Combat Veteran Family

In a heartwarming tale of resilience and compassion, a blind and deaf dog named Ernie finds his perfect forever home after spending 200 days in a shelter. This remarkable story showcases the power of understanding and acceptance as Ernie is adopted by a combat veteran who embraces his special needs. Join us as we delve into the touching journey of Ernie and his newfound family.

Blind And Deaf Dog is Adopted By A Combat Veteran

Ernie, born deaf and with limited vision on a Texas farm, faced an uncertain future due to his disabilities. Concerned for the young pup’s safety, his owner made the difficult decision to surrender him to a shelter. For nearly 200 days, Ernie resided in the shelter, patiently awaiting a family who would understand and cherish him.

Meanwhile, Steve, the son of a Korean War veteran and a military serviceman himself, was nearing the end of his military career. Having served in the National Guard and experienced the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, Steve possessed a deep empathy for others facing unique obstacles. Steve, who had previously adopted two boys with special needs, understood the importance of finding a pet that would complement their family dynamics.

After seeing Ernie’s story on social media, Steve knew he had found the perfect addition to their family. Despite the distance between them (Ernie was in Texas and Steve was in New York), Steve was determined to bring Ernie home. With the help of a non-profit organization called “Paws of War,” which helps veterans find and train service dogs, Ernie was transported to New York to meet his new family.

The moment Ernie arrived, it was clear that he had found his forever home. Steve and his family embraced Ernie’s disabilities and worked together to make him feel safe and loved. They even learned sign language to communicate with Ernie and help him navigate his new surroundings.

Ernie quickly adapted to his new home and became an integral part of the family. He is now a certified therapy dog, bringing joy and comfort to veterans and their families at various events and hospitals. Steve and Ernie’s bond is unbreakable, and they continue to inspire others with their story of resilience and compassion.

Pros and Cons After Spending 200 Days In A Shelter

While Ernie’s story has a happy ending, it also sheds light on the challenges faced by animals who spend extended periods in shelters. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of spending 200 days in a shelter:


  • Shelter staff and volunteers provide basic care and attention to animals in need.
  • Shelters often have programs in place to help socialize and train animals, making them more adoptable.
  • Animals in shelters have a chance to be seen and adopted by potential owners.


  • Extended stays in shelters can lead to behavioral issues in animals.
  • Overcrowding in shelters can lead to stress and illness for animals.
  • Limited resources and funding can make it difficult for shelters to provide proper care for all animals.

It is important to note that every shelter is different, and some may have better resources and programs in place than others. However, the longer an animal stays in a shelter, the higher their chances of developing behavioral issues or becoming sick. This is why it is crucial for animals to find their forever homes as soon as possible.

Advices After Spending 200 Days In A Shelter

If you are considering adopting a pet from a shelter, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do your research: Before visiting a shelter, do some research on the types of animals they have available and their adoption process. This will help you make an informed decision and find the right pet for your family.
  2. Be patient: It may take some time for a shelter animal to warm up to you, especially if they have been in the shelter for a long time. Be patient and give them the time and space they need to feel comfortable.
  3. Consider special needs animals: As Ernie’s story shows, animals with special needs can make wonderful companions. Don’t overlook them just because they require extra care or attention.
  4. Be prepared for challenges: Adopting a shelter animal comes with its own set of challenges. Be prepared to put in the time and effort to help your new pet adjust to their new home.
  5. Support your local shelter: Even if you are not able to adopt a pet, there are other ways to support your local shelter. You can volunteer, donate supplies or money, or even foster an animal until they find their forever home.

Comparisons After Spending 200 Days In A Shelter

Ernie’s story is just one example of the many heartwarming tales of animals finding their forever homes after spending extended periods in shelters. Let’s take a look at some statistics and comparisons to understand the impact of shelter stays on animals:

  • According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.
  • Of those, about 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
  • Out of the total number of animals entering shelters, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized each year.
  • The average length of stay for animals in shelters varies depending on factors such as age, breed, and health. However, it is estimated that about 25% of dogs and 24% of cats spend more than three months in shelters before being adopted.

These numbers highlight the importance of adopting shelter animals and the need for more resources and support for shelters to help them find homes for these animals.


Ernie’s journey from a Texas farm to a New York home is a testament to the power of understanding, acceptance, and compassion. His story also sheds light on the challenges faced by animals who spend extended periods in shelters. It is our responsibility as pet lovers to support our local shelters and give these animals a second chance at a happy life. Let’s all do our part in making sure that every animal finds their perfect forever home, just like Ernie did.

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