Finding Forever Homes on August 17, 2019

Va. Couple Thanks Clear the Shelters for Giving Them Their 'Son'

"Literally, he's like my child," Tammy Garret said of her four-legged family member Odysseus

    Va. Couple Thanks Clear the Shelters for Giving Them Their 'Son'
    Humane Rescue Alliance
    Odysseus was 10 years old when he was adopted from D.C.'s Human Rescue Alliance during Clear the Shelters last year. A year later, he's loving his new home.

    At 10 years old, senior dog Odysseus had been living at D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance for six months before he struck gold: a new home with a pair of newlyweds.

    Tammy and Michael Garrett adopted him at last year's Clear the Shelters event, when NBC and Telemundo stations pair with hundreds of animal shelters across the country to offer discounted or waive adoption fees for the annual initiative. 

    A year later, he couldn't be happier.

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    "He's very fortunate that we both work from home," Tammy Garrett told NBC in a phone interview, the German shepherd panting excitedly in the background. "He doesn't get left alone very often. He's very happy that he has us."

    Odysseus, whom Tammy and Michael nicknamed Ody, was taken to the shelter in early 2017 after his owner passed away. His size (73 pounds) and his age meant he was a large, senior dog at the shelter, HRA Digital Director Dani Rizzo said, and since many adopters usually look for younger pets, those factors made it harder for him to get adopted.

    Although Odysseus hates taking pictures, it was a photo of him on the HRA's website that caught Michael's eye, Tammy said.

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    "He was the right size dog we were looking for," Michael said. "I liked him the first time I saw him."

    The Garretts had only been married for a little more than a month when they went to the shelter to meet Odysseus in person. One look was all it took.

    "We weren't sure how it would be living with a larger dog, but it turned out wonderfully," Tammy said. "He loves it and we love him. Literally, he's like my child."

    It took about a week for Odysseus to get used to his new humans. For the first few days, he was "quiet and aloof," she said.

    He slept on the living room rug instead of the new bed the couple put in their bedroom. He got up to go to the restroom, but that was it, Michael said.

    Odysseus had lost another piece of his old family while he was at the shelter. He and his brother Beowulf were put up for adoption at the HRA at the same time, but Beowulf was adopted in March 2017, before Odysseus was, and the two haven't seen each other since.

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    "If Beowulf's owner is willing, we would be so excited to get them both together," Tammy said in an email.

    Finding a way for the brothers to reunite has been tough since the couple doesn't know the owner's name. Still, they asked that the HRA give them a call if Beowulf is put up for adoption again.

    When Odysseus finally adjusted to his new home, there was a rush of love.

    "He is a fully integrated member of the family," Tammy said. "He loves affection and loves to snuggle at our feet. If he sees my husband and I hug, he immediately wiggles in between us so he can get some hugs too!"

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    Odysseus loves being social, extending the amount of love and affection to his other family members around Christmastime last year. Everyone constantly hugged him and fed him treats, Tammy said.

    "He loves being around people. The more people the merrier," she said.

    An older gentleman of a dog, Odysseus loves taking long walks and hardly ever barks. He also loves chasing cats, and is "enamored" by deer, Tammy said.

    "Everyone's amazed at how well-behaved he is," she said. "He's a star."

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    Some of Ody's other favorite hobbies include playing with toys, snuggling and sniffing.

    Tammy thanked Clear the Shelters for giving them their "son."

    "I really couldn't imagine life without him," she said.

    The next Clear the Shelters event is coming up Saturday, Aug. 18. Find participating shelters in your area here.

    More than 103,000 pets were adopted through the 2018 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.