Shelter’s Longest Resident Marks 700 Days After Abandonment in Frozen Kennel; Still Searching For Family

Defeated Dog Resigns Himself to Life in a Cage

Drago lets out a sad sigh as he lays on his bed, gazing out at the shelter walls around him. In a few days, on February 18th, this 5-year-old mixed breed will mark his second year living at the Animal Adoption Center of New Jersey (AAC). For Drago, the shelter walls feel less like a temporary stop and more like the only life he’s ever known.

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

“He spends most of his day just laying there looking completely defeated. It’s gut-wrenching to watch him sit in silence every day as he watches other dogs get adopted,” says Max Nixon, a kennel attendant at the shelter.

Rescued from Squalid Conditions

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

The AAC rescued Drago two years ago from a horrific hoarding and neglect case involving 17 dogs, 4 horses, chickens and cats. He was found tethered outside in a makeshift pen on a large, rural property.

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

“There was an igloo dog house but no bedding inside. The ground and water bowls were frozen solid with feces mixed in the ice,” Nixon recalled. “He was just standing on top of his broken dog house, shaking from the cold and barking.”

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

A Loving Yet Wary Nature

According to Nixon, Drago warmed up quickly to staff at the shelter. Under the care and affection of workers, his sweet and friendly personality emerged. However, Drago struggles with resource guarding and can be wary of strangers at first.

Returned After a Failed Adoption

After his rescue, the AAC found Drago an adoptive home. But his guarding behaviors proved too much for the family.

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

“He loved his new people so much that he became severely protective and possessive,” Nixon explained. “He wouldn’t let anyone near them. The adopters didn’t attempt working with a trainer. They returned him after less than a week.”

Longing for Affection Behind the Sad Eyes

Now back at the shelter for nearly two years, Drago has resigned himself to a cage life. But underneath the sadness is still a dog longing for affection.

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

“When you open your arms for a hug he’ll do an adorable wiggle dance while he waits for permission,” said Nixon. “Those moments never fail to make my day.”

Hoping for That One Special Person

While Nixon understands Drago may not be the easiest placement, he hopes there is one special person willing to put in the effort.

“We keep hoping we’ll find that one person capable of providing what Drago needs to truly succeed,” he said. “Someone willing to be his entire world.”

Dreaming of a Soft Bed and Loving Family

“I just keep picturing him finally curled up on a warm, soft bed next to a loving human,” added Nixon. “He deserves that chance.”

Dog abandoned in frozen kennel

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