This Shelter Dog Can’t Bear Another Adoption Heartbreak, Is Desperate to Secure Forever Home

Bentley, a large American Staffordshire Terrier, is currently waiting for his forever home at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh, New York. Unfortunately, Bentley’s path to a permanent family hasn’t been easy. After living with his owner since he was a puppy, Bentley was heartbreakingly returned to the shelter in April 2022.

Dog up for adoption: Bentley

His only mistake? Acting on his defensive instincts. 

Bentley’s original home had a child who’d constantly invade his personal space, tease him, and hit him. This was something Bentley tolerated for a while until he couldn’t anymore. He one day reacted just like most dogs in his shoes would: he bit the child in defense. 

Unfortunately, this bite incident turned Bentley’s entire world upside down, as his owner surrendered him to the shelter. Unknown to Bentley, this would mark the start of a series of heartbreaks, as he’d find himself moving from one adoptive home to another and ending back in the shelter with every move. 

Rejection After Rejection After Rejection…….

Dog up for adoption: Bentley

Bentley has been struggling for as long as he can remember.

Struggling to understand why the shelter halls seem to be the only true constant in his life. Struggling to adjust to an environment that doesn’t feel like his dream home. Struggling to process the emotions of what feels like a lifetime’s worth of rejection. Struggling to find an adopter who’ll finally take a chance on him without changing their mind afterward. The mental and emotional toll is weighing on him.

Bentley knows too well the experience of being adopted, only to be returned to the shelter after some time. It’s happened several times now, and in all instances, the reasons given by his adopters all seem similar: he’s too big, doesn’t get along with other household pets, and that his sensitivity to loud noises in the home (including yelling between household members) is a turn-off. Despite all the reasons presented, nothing changes the fact that there’s someone out there who’s a perfect match for Bentley. 

Dogs don’t fail us, we fail them

Dog up for adoption: Bentley

Bentley’s heart-wrenching predicament underscores three main overlooked responsibilities of pet parenthood:

1. Proper Training and Socialization

“Pet parents should play a part in ensuring that dogs are well-trained and properly socialized,” said Rocky Kanaka, pet rescue advocate. “Usually, a pup’s undesirable behaviors reflect their lack of training and socialization.”


Under-trained or poorly socialized dogs may lack the right coping skills to respond appropriately to stressful situations — for instance, when a toddler constantly hits them. Despite the best training, personality still plays a HUGE part. “Some dogs, even those that have been socialized may just be more reactive than others, it’s in their DNA,” Kanaka commented. “This is why it’s some important for rescue workers to properly match the right dog with the right family.”

It’s also your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the telltale signs that a dog is in distress (or losing their cool) so you can intervene before things end in disaster, as was the case with Bentley’s situation. Cues such as ears pinned back, constant yawning, licking of lips, tail tacked between the legs, and obvious growling sounds are common indicators that a dog is uncomfortable. 

2. Educate Children on Appropriate Behaviors


It’s essential for you to educate your children (and other household members) on what appropriate and safe interactions with the family dog entail. Teaching your kids to be gentle when around the dog, discouraging rough play, and educating them on the warning signs that a dog is unhappy usually go a long way in preventing a potential attack.

Plus, doing so limits the possibility of a pup being unfairly labeled aggressive and creates a harmonious relationship between the animal and the rest of the household members.  

3. Prioritize Supervision of Kid-Dog Interactions

Bentley’s tear-jerking experience in his first home serves as a reminder of the importance of adult supervision in child-dog interactions. No matter how friendly your dog is and how loving they are toward your kids, you should always monitor all one-on-one interactions.

Never leave leave your child unattended with your dog. Even the most placid dog can bite if provoked, annoyed, or frightened. Active supervision will allow you to notice when your dog is uncomfortable and step in before they or your child gets hurt.

Bentley Ready to Find His Dream Home

Dog up for adoption: Bentley

For now, Bentley is still a shelter resident, desperately hoping that his next forever home this time round does turn out to be forever. He is already familiar with commands like “sit” and “paw” and would truly blossom with an owner who’s dedicated to continuing his training. 

Bentley needs an adopter who’ll wholeheartedly accept him as big as he is, with all his preferences. A quiet, adult-only, spacious home is his ideal setting, and he’s better off with a family where he’s the only pet. He takes playtime with his toys seriously, so having a continuous supply of fun toys is a wish his heart constantly makes.

If you’re interested in making Bentley bid farewell to the shelter life once and for all, please visit the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter for more information.   

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