The first time Joni Conley saw her new furry family member run around her hay farm, it was clear that he’d spent most of his former life in a cage. “It was like he didn’t know where his legs were,” she recalls. “When he got the zoomies, I thought he was gonna blow a knee out!”
That’s what I want for him, is to just be a happy dog and never worry that something’s going to happen.
McNamara posted about Mir online and his photo caught Facebook friend Conley’s eye. “I was like, uh, what kind of dog is that, what’s his story?” Conley says. Over the summer, when McNamara needed someone to watch Mir while she was out of town, Conley stepped right up.
“He came and stayed with us for the weekend and did phenomenally,” she says. “He kind of perused around my house and laid down in my son’s room and fell asleep—he really made himself right at home.” They adopted him a week or so later.
Mir also fit right in with his new siblings (three cats, a pit bull/mastiff mix and Conley’s 11-year-old son, Keith), and he established his place in the family fairly quickly.
He’s “quietly bossy,” according to Conley, describing how Mir uses his large nose to nudge his human companions for attention. “If you don’t acknowledge that he’s there, he’ll just boop you a little bit harder. He’s also very sweet. When we’re all just kind of sitting down, some part of him always has to be touching my foot or he puts his face on my foot. He just likes to be close.”
That’s the best part of watching animals go from traumatic situations to loving homes, says Rivera: They come to life as trust develops. “So often the animals we help are in a state of distress and it’s written all over them, most of all in their eyes,” she says. “It’s incredible to see them when they finally feel safe and loved.”
Since adopting Mir, Conley has witnessed this transformation up close. “His eyes were very dull when I first met him. Now it looks like there’s a personality in there,” she says. “I just love him so much, I couldn’t be happier.”