GREAT FALLS — A story of resilience and recovery along the Hi-Line resulted in good news for one special dog.
"We're just so happy about it! It's hard to even talk about it because it's so huge,” exclaimed PAWS of Chinook manager Alissa Hewitt.
Almost four months to the day after being rescued from death's doorstep, Barney officially has a forever family.
"Every adoption means something to us, but when it's a case like Barney, I don't know. I don't know if there are even words to describe what that feels like," Hewitt said.
Barney was in bad shape, just skin and bones, when he was rescued by PAWS of Chinook thanks to a tip from a dog-loving good Samaritan who saw Barney laying on someone’s porch in terrible condition.
His outlook was bleak. The veterinarian who initially examined Barney estimated he hadn’t eaten potentially in months.
Through time, special care, and a lot of love Barney gained weight and strength - until he was ready for his next chapter.
"Barney is happy, he's healthy,” Hewitt explained.
The journey to find his family hit a few roadblocks. The dogs already in the homes of his foster family and first potential adopter weren't big Barney fans and they struggled to adjust to Barney being in their homes.
"It was a little discouraging at that point because he had been with us for so long, he was ready to go,” explained Hewitt.
Then, a group of volunteers came to the shelter, including a young girl who changed everything.
“Mom (the adopter) had told us she came in every day after coming home from the volunteering and she couldn't stop talking about Barney. That's all she talked about and mom said I've just never seen her act like that before,” explained Hewitt.
Barney found his match and even gets along well with the family's other dog Ben.
"Oh I hope this works, I hope this works. And mom gives us wonderful updates all the time and pictures of Barney and Ben passed out on each other and the daughter is over the moon,” explained Hewitt.
Hewitt said it was worth the wait and is the best outcome they could’ve hoped for.
"We kind of sometimes have to have a hard exterior for the things we see and do here and sometimes Barneys come along and it's just too much. It's just too much. We're just so happy that it has happened the way it has,” Hewitt said.
The family that adopted Barney didn’t want to be identified, but they live in Chinook. The PAWS of Chinook crew is invited to visit Barney whenever they’d like.