Jack Schmidt has bonded with countless pets over his five years of volunteering at the Connecticut Humane Society. It can be hard not to, of course.
“I always get a warning from my wife, Chris, when I go volunteer to not bring anyone back home with me,” Jack says with a chuckle.
But there was something about Stanley, a 5-year-old terrier mix he met at CHS on one of his shifts as a volunteer photographer (Jack’s behind many of the Waterford pet portraits on the adoptions page).
To some, little Stanley might have been a “lemon” of a dog. He acted aloof and was timid around people. He had a pelvis that hadn’t quite healed correctly after he’d been hit by a car years ago. And other dogs weren’t always his cup of tea. But to Jack, the pup was a diamond in the rough.
“I started to get the full-court press on Stanley. ‘Oh, Stanley this,’ and ‘Oh, Stanley that.’ I could see what was happening,” Chris quipped.
At the time, the Schmidts had been at a crossroads, after their other dogs passed away over the course of the last year: Do they adopt again, or take some time to travel, without worrying about doggie daycare or finding dog-friendly hotels?
But Chris agreed to go meet Stanley. He’d gotten a bit more social by then, a bit more mellow. After a visit with him, Chris could picture Stanley fitting in at home, just like Jack could. They took another day to talk it over, but both already knew the answer.
“Stanley had looked a little scuffed up, like he’d had a hard life. So I thought, ‘Oh come on, you can retire over here,’” Chris said.
Safe to say he’s blossomed in his new life as a Schmidt—Albie Schmidt, to be exact. He got a new name, and a new wardrobe, thanks to a friend of Chris’ who has made him sweaters because she worried he’d be cold this winter with his thin, short fur. And he loves lounging on the heat discs his parents use when they foster kittens.
The pup’s athletic side has come out, too. He loves walks, is extremely fast and agile, and is always up for a game of fetch with a tennis ball.
“I think we really wanted another dog all along... we sort of had dog loneliness, because we were used to always having them,” Jack said. “He’s really been a nice little dog. He’s found his niche here, for sure.”