XENIA — A county worker waited nearly 16 hours in the rain outside Greene County Animal Care & Control (GCAC) March 21 for a German shepherd puppy.
Paul Charles, who works for County Services, first met the pup on a morning maintenance run at the shelter.
“I saw this little German shepherd and I said ‘wow’,” Charles said. “I kept going in every day on lunch and before work, playing and talking with him, having fun with him.”
Xenia police officers had found the puppy in the median on West Main Street and posted a photo of him on Facebook. More than 1,000 people shared the post.
“Their post drew lots of attention so we had a few weeks of phone calls,” GCAC Director Julie Holmes-Taylor said. “No one ever came looking for the little guy.”
When it was time for the puppy to go up for adoption, Charles found out it was on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I kept tellin’ them at Animal Control that he was my dog so you might as well give him to me, but they said we had to do it by the rules,” Charles said, laughing.
“So I made sure I was gettin’ the dog,” he continued. “I got off work at 3:30 on Wednesday and parked my truck up front and slept until 5 a.m. At 5, I put my chair up by the door and sat there until 9 in the rain. I’m a hunter so I had my hunting gear and rain gear so I was comfortable.”
Charles said people started driving by around 7 a.m., asking if he was waiting for the pup. Others started lining up behind him.
“There were 20 people that showed up,” he said. “At one point I was going to tape my hand to the door in case I fell asleep.”
The doors opened at 9 a.m.
“We all walked in, they checked my information, told me I was good and everyone could go home. Then there were a lot of ‘ahhs’. I kinda got excited and said ‘YES!’ I felt kinda bad for the other people, but I did wait 15 and a half hours,” Charles said. “I was really tired but it was great.”
The 11-week-old pup, with a brand new name —“Yankee” — was just as ready to go home with his friend.
“On the ride home he was so excited. He rode in my lap, kissing me all over my face, giving me puppy breath,” Charles said.
Charles took two days off work to stay home with Yankee.
“When I got home at 4:00 on Monday he cried for 20 minutes while he was kissing me,” he said.
Yankee reportedly has been adjusting well to his new life in Kettering with Charles, his wife Meredith, and their bullmastiff mix named Charlie.
“He’s just adorable,” Charles said. “It was well worth it.”
Fittingly, Senate Bill 86 named “shelter pets” the official state pet of Ohio last week.
More adoptable cats and dogs — big, small, purebreds and mixes, according to Holmes-Taylor — are available at GCAC, open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at 641 Dayton-Xenia Road, Xenia. Pets available for adoption are listed on their website at bit.ly/2JUxEau and featured weekly in the Gazette and Herald.