Kiersten Davis was on a deadline.
In the five weeks the dog had been at a Raleigh shelter, he’d had 14 failed adoptions. But a viral social media post brought the puppy a lot of luck. Davis, who’d applied to take Ronald after seeing the post, brought him home on Jan. 12 and officially adopted him Tuesday, ending the search for his forever home.
“Everything’s been really good at the house,” Davis said. “He really just fits in perfectly.”
Ronald was taken in by the SPCA of Wake County on Dec. 7 from another shelter in the state, along with two of his sisters.
His siblings were adopted quickly, but Ronald lingered at the shelter, said Samantha Ranlet, a spokesperson for SPCA Wake.
Though he’s only 1 year old, Ronald has a large frame. He’s extremely energetic and eager to play, sometimes jumping on people or other dogs when especially excited — behaviors that a slew of potential adopters didn’t mesh with.
Of the 14 people who’d looked into adopting Ronald, three tried doing a “dress rehearsal,” taking him home for up to five days to see if he would be the right fit.
But all of them brought him back.
“It was just all different versions of that combination of being really playful and kind of clumsy and goofy and still working on his manners, in combination with his large size,” Ranlet said.
So Ronald stayed at the shelter, his spirits high as always, but his prospects for suitors low.
Among the SPCA Wake staff, the puppy had developed a reputation as the sweet, cute dog that kept being rejected. It was unusual to see so many failed adoptions in a short period, Ranlet said.
That’s when she got an idea.
Ranlet, who runs the animal agency’s social media accounts, put the internet up to the job. On Jan. 11, she posted four photos of Ronald on Facebook. The caption started with a simple plea: “Help us break Ronald’s unlucky streak!”
In the 24 hours that followed, Davis was one of thousands of people who saw the post and hoped to help the snow-colored puppy find a family. Applications for Ronald came flowing in.
Davis quickly submitted hers, though the shelter’s site told her he had a pending adoption.
“I was like, ‘Oh, there’s no way I’m going to get him,’” Davis recalled thinking. “Someone, I’m sure, is going to scoop him up so fast. But I applied anyway.”
It paid off when the pending adoption fell through and she got a call for an interview. She was the first person on SPCA Wake’s list of backups after the Facebook post.
Davis’s family already had a dog: Billie, a black Australian shepherd Davis rescued two years ago when her husband, who works for the U.S. Army, was deployed. Billie got along well with her two boys, who are now 4 and 7, but they were ready to find her a furry friend who would keep up with her energy.
They looked around for dogs, but none seemed right — until she saw the photos of Ronald.
To Davis, his size and energy weren’t intimidating. Instead, he felt like the family’s missing piece.
So Davis brought home Ronald last week, agreeing to a five-day trial run before deciding whether to adopt him.
But again, it was an almost immediate yes.
She and her husband had planned for Ronald to be a surprise for their children. When they ran out of the living room to find the puppy standing beside their mom, the boys “just screamed with excitement,” she said.
And for his part, Ronald didn’t jump or get mouthy with the children or Billie. His tail was wagging, excited to meet his new family.
“Just right off the bat, once he saw the kids and dog, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s perfect. He’s staying,’” Davis said. “I don’t even need the five days.”