26 July 2023

After a record 259-day stay in the pound, Aero finds her forever home

| Sally Hopman
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Three people and dog

Aero the dog on her way home to Gungahlin with her new family Richu George and Danielle Howse, along with DAS adoption coordinator Tara McMahon. Photo: ACT Government.

For 259 days, Aero sat up straight in her kennel at Canberra’s Domestic Animal Services (DAS), watching potential owners walk by. Some would occasionally stop, but most would pass by, opting to spend their time with the smaller, fluffier, cuter dogs also up for adoption.

She had a couple of meet-and-greets over the eight months she’d been at DAS – the longest time a dog had ever waited for adoption there – but the human-dog connection never happened, according to DAS adoption coordinator, Tara McMahon.

Believed to be about five years old, Aero, a stray, had been surrendered to DAS with no microchip.

When you’re a big, brown dog of no identifiable single breed, that’s usually how it goes.

For Tara, it was heartbreaking. No dog had ever spent as long waiting to be adopted, but she was forever hopeful that one day, the right human and dog would connect.

And it did. Danielle Howse, who lives in Gungahlin, lost her childhood dog back in May and had been thinking about getting another dog with her partner Richu George.

Dog sleeping on lounge

It didn’t take long for Aero the rescue dog to make herself comfy at her new forever home – living up to her reputation as a champion couch potato. Photo: Danielle Howse.

“When we got to the animal shelter I saw her straight away. She was just sitting there looking at us. She had this look in her eyes that I can’t explain. But I knew then that I wanted to adopt her.”

Danielle took her partner Richu George to meet Aero the next day – and the next thing she had signed the adoption papers and Aero was in the car and heading “home” for a trial stay.

“But I knew it was never going to be a trial,” Danielle said. “She was always coming home.”

When Region contacted Danielle on Tuesday (25 July) to see how Aero was settling in, she said the dog was lying asleep in her lap.

READ ALSO RSPCA Pets of the week: Ponyo, Gus & Forrest

“She is the sweetest girl,” Danielle said. “She is so affectionate, we fell in love with her straight away.”

And it didn’t take long for Aero to settle in. Danielle said although she was initially a little nervous of her new surroundings, it only took Aero a few hours to work out the best spot to sleep in her new home – Danielle’s bed.

Danielle has already started training with Aero, teaching her that other dogs are OK and not everything has to be scary.

Tara McMahon said DAS staff were happy to see Aero go to the best home, but that she would be missed.

Man cuddling

Aero relaxes at home with Danielle’s partner Richu. Photo: Danielle Howse.

“We don’t know why it took so long for her to be adopted, although she’s in the right home now,” Tara said.

“She was one of the first dogs I assessed when I started here and my first impression was that she was great, a lovely, cuddly girl. We did a range of testing but no problems stood out – she’s just a couch potato who wants to be with her people.

“She was a little cautious around other dogs but that’s normal – it’s like humans, not every human gets along with every other human.

“But she bonded with Danielle and her partner straight away which was so wonderful to see.

“Yes, it was a bit sad to see her go but the happiness that she has found in her forever home overrides that. It is wonderful to see her finally go home.”

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Aero you have a lovely parent and forever home

Jennifer Rolph11:15 am 26 Jan 24

Go Rocky! We met Rocky when we purchased an American Staffy named Opie! Rocky was on our short list. When I saw that he was still there, I cried. Animals in shelters suffer.The DAS staff are caring for them as best as they can BUT PLEASE 🙏…Take Rocky home Someone!!! Our Opie is the best decision for us as a 50+ couple, as we don’t have kids at home any more and he is great company and has so much love to give and take! Big dog and a gentle giant xxx


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