Like other canines staying at the Dawson County Humane Society’s no-kill shelter, male hound and boxer mix Goofy didn’t have the easiest past.
He was first adopted as a puppy and abused, returned for a while, adopted and returned again, then staying at the shelter for another three to four years straight.
Then in mid-September 2022, a whole 1,672 days after first coming to the shelter, Goofy happily went home with a familiar face–humane society volunteer Kevin McCall.
The story continues below.
McCall would occasionally go to the shelter to volunteer with friends like Donna Biondich and her son, Matt.
Goofy’s 100-plus pound stature and tendency to bark and snap at new people made him intimidating for some volunteers to handle, said humane society director Jason Hutcherson.
Enter McCall during Goofy’s extended shelter stay.
“Matt said, ‘You have to see this dog. It’s a dog no one else will walk,’” McCall said about his first impression of Goofy.
Two volunteers were trying to put a harness on Goofy before taking him out for a walk, but, like many a persistent dog, he was able to wiggle and break free of their grasp.
Goofy approached McCall, who was standing at the lobby door.
“He put both of his front paws on my shoulders and started licking my face,” said McCall, “and that was it. We were set from then on.”
McCall was successfully able to take Goofy out for a walk. Upon returning inside, a female worker said Goofy’s response to him was a big relief, as she’d never seen the dog do that and thought he’d bite McCall instead.
Shelter visits became Goofy staying overnight with McCall sometimes. After the Biondich family moved away from the Dawson area, McCall kept volunteering as a favor to Matt.
“The more I was with him, the more I wanted to be with him,” McCall said of Goofy.
He continued going to the shelter over three years to walk Goofy on weekends and during the week after school.
“He’d even come when it snowed and we were closed,” Hutcherson said. “Goofy would get so excited…and would know that he (McCall) was there.”
Because where McCall was living at the time didn’t allow animals, he couldn’t adopt Goofy right away. But he continued visiting the canine nonetheless.
He also took the dog for whole weekend stints or to house-sitting jobs, giving the two of them a lot of quality time together.
After he came back to bring Goofy to a permanent home, McCall said his biggest concern about the dog was leaving him alone for nine hours, given McCall’s job as a teacher in Fulton County.
However, the two were able to work on the dog’s routine.
Goofy went from waiting at the front door while McCall was gone to retreating to the couch.
“By day four, he was laying in my bed as happy as can be,” McCall said of Goofy. “He’s comfortable because he knows that every time, I’ll walk him as soon as I come home. And then I feed him. Feeding time’s his favorite time of the day.”
Goofy’s exercise routine includes 60-90 minute weekend walks at area parks. And much like his human counterpart, Goofy enjoys watching football, so McCall tends to turn on a football game when he leaves his residence.
Training Goofy has taken McCall a lot of time and patience. While the canine can sense other dog people, he’s still protective of his owner and doesn’t always take well to strangers.
“I know he has it in him,” McCall said about Goofy’s future disposition, “so we’re [still] working on his personality.”
The two have already worked through so much, though. Now, McCall will get compliments from passersby on how beautiful Goofy is.
Now with winter approaching, Goofy will once again have the chance to frolic in the snow, as McCall said that’s when his dog is most energetic.
Goofy’s story is just one example of the difference that a volunteer’s efforts can make.
“That’s the kind of dedication we see,” Hutcherson added. “We'd like to see more of it.”