Jennifer Hoyt was astonished by the response she received when she went to the Oahu SPCA in Hawaii to meet a dog named Pirate. The person who greeted Hoyt was taken aback. She told Hoyt, “No one ever asks to meet Pirate.” Nonetheless, the staff member was ecstatic that Hoyt wanted to see the dog who had been passed over numerous times and had spent seven years in the shelter.
Hoyt, a member of the United States Army, had recently arrived in Hawaii and wanted to volunteer at a local shelter to keep occupied until her fiance Dennis Shaffer, who was also a member of the US Army, joined her a few months later. They knew they’d get a dog someday, but the goal was to settle in and enjoy Hawaii first when Shaffer joined her and they got a house.
Hoyt was FaceTiming with her fiance one night and going through images on the animal shelter’s page at the same time. Pirate, an old, sad-looking dog with a yellow lei around her neck, caught her eye. There wasn’t much information on her other than the fact that she was available for adoption. Hoyt scrolled backward after finding the organization’s Instagram page. She kept seeing Pirate and realized what was going on. It had been seven years since the dog had been there!
“I began to cry and said to Dennis, ‘Dennis, I need to tell you about this puppy,'” Hoyt said. She took a screenshot of Pirate’s photo and forwarded it to Shaffer. Before making any decisions, the couple agreed that Hoyt would meet Pirate. When Hoyt was led to Pirate’s kennel the next day at the shelter, he discovered that the dog had originally entered the shelter as a stray. Staff believed the thin, sickly dog they had taken in had been exploited for breeding and then abandoned.
Pirate was put on a leash. Pirate began eating grass after Hoyt took her outside. Hoyt remarked, “She didn’t look at me; she didn’t look at anything.” “She had an emotional detachment.” That shattered my heart.” Pirate had hip difficulties, Hoyt was told, and she didn’t want her tail, feet, or hind end stroked, so people had to be careful around her. She couldn’t be around other dogs or children, so she’d have to be an only dog.
Pirate didn’t appear to be in good health, and one of her eyes was dripping down her face. On her breast and back leg, she was missing a few tufts of fur. She also has open hot spots. “She wasn’t a really attractive dog,” Hoyt added. “They said it looked like she was giving up on life.” “All I wanted to do was cry.” Pirate was about 11 years old and had poor hips, so she slept on the kennel’s normal metal and hard rubber bed. It was the only thing she had. Hoyt informed Shaffer that she was going to get a new bed and a toy for Pirate, which she did that night and returned the next day.
“When I gave her the bed, she sniffed about, came over and looked at me, and then let me pet her as if she was thanking me, and that was the beginning of our friendship,” Hoyt recalled. Even though Hoyt was informed Pirate didn’t like toys, she finally did and now enjoys them. Since that day, Hoyt and Shaffer have had an unwritten understanding that they would someday adopt Pirate. “I’m sure he knew I was after her,” she explained. Hoyt wanted to spend as much time with Pirate as she could, even though it wasn’t formal at the time. Shaffer received videos and images from her.
Hoyt was granted permission to accompany Pirate to the park or the beach. She could also just sit and pet Pirate while she slept in her kennel. She sat with Pirate for eight hours on some days. She’d spend weekends at the kennel if she couldn’t get there before it closed. Pirate’s kennel workers informed Hoyt that she had food aggression issues, so they simply pushed her kennel door open and slid in her bowl before closing it. They gradually began to allow Hoyt to feed Pirate. Hoyt was ultimately able to touch Pirate’s back end and tail as she won more of the dog’s trust.
Shaffer was scheduled to return home in August, and it was July 13, 2017. Hoyt prepared their home and assisted Pirate Marie in settling in while they both adjusted. It wasn’t an easy start, though. Pirate felt uneasy around Hoyt’s fiancee, who was also apprehensive towards Pirate. This put Hoyt in an awkward position. Pirate seemed to have a problem with others invading her personal space, and she was quite possessive of Hoyt.
“There was a lot of stress,” Hoyt explained. “I was like, ‘Who is he and why is he in my house?'” says the narrator. She was on the verge of exploding. He felt tense because she was tense. It took them nearly a month to warm up to each other.” They did, however. Shaffer is now completely enamored with Pirate.
Pirate can just be a dog, which makes Hoyt happy. “I believe she may finally rest and do what an old dog should do: enjoy life without worrying about finding a family while lying on a rough bed,” she said. “Plus, when we go home, she smiles and flashes her teeth.” It’s the most fantastic thing to watch her so delighted to see us.