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Shelter Staff Left Confused After Adopted Dog Returns Back For The 11th Time

Some animals get lost on the street and then are taken to a shelter. This pup was returned to the shelter 11 times. Why? He kept escaping. He may have broken out of his homes but he won our hearts! Learn the amazing story of Gumby.


18. Crowded Animal Shelters

Image: Planet Lowcountry

According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million pets enter shelters each year. Many of these animals may be adopted and others may be released to rescues or no-kill shelters. Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that most animals can’t get homes. Some people may even return the animals they adopted after they find they aren’t a good “fit” or they have a sudden crisis and can no longer care for the pet. Gumby the dog was adopted and went to a home, but he had other things on his mind.

17. Meet Gumby

Image: David Wolfe

Gumby is a hound mix at the Charleston Animal Society in Charleston, South Carolina. He was first found at age 3 or 4 while wandering the streets. Luckily, he found shelter at the Charleston Animal Society. Despite his days as a stray, Gumby was affectionate, healthy, and a beautiful dog. They knew he’d be adopted quickly.

16. The First Adoption

Image: Little Things

Gumby was adopted. However, he soon returned to the shelter. The first adoption lasted 3 days. Then he was adopted again but would only last for a period of 6 days. His third adoption, Gumby had enough and decided to make a break for it. Where did he go?

15. Gumby’s Back

Image: Nature News

Yes, Gumby returned to the shelter! He escaped and was dropped off by a Good Samaritan who spotted the pup wandering around town. Then after Gumby went back to his home, he again got out and this time was picked up by Animal Control. The dog really got around!  The shelter tried all they could to make it so that Gumby wouldn’t leave. They gave him a female hound friend, offered training to the adopters, and worked with rescue groups. Gumby came back. Finally, his adopter decided to surrender him.

14. New Homes

Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

The decision was a hard one for the owner who had become bonded with Gumby, but each time the dog escaped, there was fear he would be injured or worse. Maybe another family would have the magic trick that would keep Gumby home where he belonged. The staff at CAS warned potential adopters about the dog’s incredible escapes. A fourth adopter decided to try to give a home to Gumby…

13. Gumby Comes Back…Again


Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

That adoption lasted four blissful months where CAS knew the dog was in a happy home. They thought it was forever, but it wasn’t. The dog finally showed up again as a stray on July 5. They were at their wits’ end. Maybe the fifth adopter would be the charm?

12. Houdini Dog

Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

The fifth adopter took Gumby home on August 22, but the relationship would only last two months. Yes, Gumby pulled a Houdini and escaped. This time he was at a sister shelter 30 miles from Charleston. The pup had gone on a long excursion. A follow-up adoption, this one the sixth the dog had, fell through.

11. The Last Adoption

Image: Facebook Janet Funk Mendola

The adoption had begun on December 6, 2015, and lasted until January 4, 2016. Why? The owner said that Gumby had escaped three times in that period! It was too much, especially since the dog had even busted the screen door in his attempt to flee the house. Gumby was also having trouble with housebreaking.

10. Gumby Was Special

Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

The staff noticed something different about Gumby when he was in a home; he didn’t try to escape the shelter like he did the home! Maybe there was something to that, and maybe Gumby was at his home all along. The staff of CAS also noticed something else special about Gumby.

9. Gumby the Greeter

Image: Newsd

CAS gets a lot of animals and there’s always plenty of commotion. Staff watched Gumby and realized he was very empathetic. He would seem to adjust his behavior based on how another dog was feeling. If a dog was fearful and suffering from anxiety, he would be gentle and deliberate in an attempt to comfort them. If they were reactive and angry, he would remain calm.

8. A New Staff Member

Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

This was a great revelation for the Behavior Team Leader at CAS, Donya Satriale. “He knows he has work to do,” she said about his frequent visits to the shelter. Gumby then became a vital member of the Behavior Team and was there to demonstrate behavior as they needed them. He also helped new dogs with transitioning into the shelter and was the official greeter for doggie playgroups.

7. Helping Kittens

Image: Instagram Gumbstagram

Gumby even helped kittens! He was a donor of blood and specifically, the white cells that could be extracted from the blood. These cells could be used to help kittens’ eye infections. Ever the patient boy, Gumby would donate blood.

6. Gumby in the News

Image: Instagram Gumbstagram

Gumby was described as a “great coworker” and was clearly a joy to be around. The staff loved sharing this photos on social media and Gumby made quite a splash as an escape artist! But he wouldn’t remain at the shelter for very long. The staff didn’t know it, but one more adoption would happen for their little Houdini.

5. Meet John Martin

Image: Carolina Tails Magazine

John Martin worked at the CAS since the day Gumby first arrived at the shelter and knew the dog extremely well. The pup was a staff favorite but Martin was especially close to Gumby. He even began taking him home occasionally for the weekend. Gumby then fell for John’s wife, Joanne. The two loved Gumby as much as they could on this temporary visits.

4. Relocating

Image: Instagram Gumbstagram

In November 2016, the Martins decided to leave South Carolina and move to New York City. John wondered… Could they take Gumby? The answer was yes! John said he begged his wife to do so and she immediately said yes. Now Gumby was off to the big city! Would he escape?

3. Gumby in the Big Apple

Image: Facebook Charleston Animal Society

The Martins arrived in New York City with Gumby and began making a new life in the Big Apple. Gumby loved the couple but he’d always been an escape artist, so the first few days of living in their new home may have been worrisome. The Martins didn’t need to worry though, because Gumby never tried to escape! He knew he was finally home. Click to see some recent pictures of Gumby’s NYC life!

2. Instagram Dog

Image: Instagram Gumbstagram

Gumby now has an Instagram account and his fans can follow his exploits. His owners love to take shots of him playing, sleeping, and just having fun. The Martins started the account in October 2017 and have consistently shared pictures of the pup. And if you were wondering what type of dog he is…The Martins were curious about the breed of Gumby and finally took a DNA test. He was revealed as mainly English Pointer with Whippet and Greyhound mixed in.

1. New York Hound

Image: Instagram Gumbstagram

The Martins say that Gumby loves New York, especially the parks. Here’s a beautiful shot of Gumby reflecting on life at Carl Schwarz Park. The move also helped him slim down thanks to all of that walking in the Big City. The Spring 2018 issue of CAS’s “Carolina Tails” shared this update and let all of his fans know that Gumby was living a great life!