Staffers at the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) have seen plenty of dogs find homes only to be brought back to the shelter days or weeks later when things don’t work out as planned.
But when a husky mix named Binx was returned within 48 hours of his adoption, the reason given by his former family left everyone scratching their heads.
“It was the first time we had seen an animal returned for being ‘too good,’” Michael Morefield, communications director for the AAWL, told The Dodo.
But this wasn’t the first time the friendly dog had been discarded through no fault of his own.
In early September, a group of hikers found Binx wandering a desert trail all alone. When he ran up to greet them, they knew they couldn’t leave him behind. For a month, the hikers cared for Binx and tried to find his owner, but demanding work and travel schedules conflicted with the responsibilities of raising a teenage dog.
It was a difficult decision to bring Binx to AAWL, the largest no-kill shelter in Arizona, but hopes were high that the well-behaved boy would quickly find a loving family.
As soon as Binx arrived at the shelter, it was clear that he would not be left wanting for attention. “He was only at our shelter for a few days before getting adopted and quickly became a favorite,” Morefield said. “You would always find a staff member or volunteer in his kennel giving pets and snuggles.”
When Binx attended a large community adoption event, the good boy seemed in his element and poised to finally go home. “There were hundreds of people and dogs, and Binx was totally relaxed and visiting everyone,” Morefield said. “The family met him, spent time with him while they were counseled by our staff, and then he was adopted from the event.”
Two days later, Binx found himself back at the shelter.
“The [return] notes stated he was potty trained, good with dogs, good with kids and knows sit and shake,” Morefield explained. “They stated Binx was ‘too much for my spouse, he wants a puppy.’”
While staffers are disappointed that Binx’s placement didn’t last, they’re happy to have him back. They believe the young dog deserves to find someone who will truly appreciate him for all he has to offer.
This time, whoever adopts Binx should know they’re in for a lot of snuggles and hours of playtime. “He has no body awareness or personal space, and lays on top of you to get comfortable,” Morefield said. “He is happiest when he is playing, lounging around with you, or going for walks with people, because he is so social.”
“Somebody is going to be very lucky when they adopt him,” Morefield added.
Since Riley is such a social, friendly dog, he loves standing on a little box his mom put outside for him and hanging his paws over the wall that encloses his family’s patio so he can observe his Los Angeles neighborhood and watch people and cars go by. His love for looking over the wall has grown in recent years, and now he’s out there all the time — much to the delight of every single person who happens to pass by.
“It was like paparazzi,” Wendy Walden, Riley’s mom, told The Dodo. “People stopped their cars and got out to film him and take selfies. So much filming and he ate it up. They used to film ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ right next door and he was noticed right away. I think he got selfies from most of the crew and even one with Rachel Bloom.”
Not only do people love to take pictures of Riley as they pass by, they also love going over to greet him, giving him hugs and posing for some adorable selfies. As Riley’s mom peruses the internet, she’s constantly finding photos of Riley …
… with people whom she’s never met before!
To Riley, absolutely no one is a stranger — just a friend he hasn’t met yet.
“He gives you an arm hug and when you try to leave, he pulls your arm in tighter and doesn’t let go,” Walden said.
If Riley sees someone passing by but isn’t sure if they’re going to come over to say hi to him or not, he’ll casually drop his ball on the ground below the wall to encourage people to come over and play with him.
“The dropping the ball works almost 100 percent of the time,” Walden said. “Sometimes he misses his mark (not all people love dogs) but then we would always find the ball sitting on the wall because someone picked it up.”
Everyone on the street knows who Riley is and absolutely adores him. He’s something of a local celebrity, and is even known and loved by the employees at his local Starbucks, who put his Puppuccino in bag for him so he can carry it home all by himself.
John Berchtold, who recently posted a video of Riley on Twitter, was just visiting some friends in the neighborhood when he spotted Riley hanging over the wall, and was immediately smitten with the adorable, attention-seeking dog.
This good wall-doggo dropped his ballo but fear not I returned it to him and thanked him for his service
“I saw Riley across the street and obviously freaked out because of how strikingly cute the sight was,” Berchtold told The Dodo. “I had to capture it in that moment, and that’s when I realized he had a toy in his mouth. He dropped the ball over the wall, and the video cuts out because I had to return the ball — he was looking right at me!”
Berchtold asked his friends about Riley, and they told him what everyone who lives in the neighborhood knows — that he’s the friendliest neighborhood dog around, and the absolute goodest boy in the world.
“After I returned the ball, I shook his paw and rubbed his head, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy the attention, which is when I realized that it was just a cute scheme to get said attention,” Berchtold said.
Riley’s family is delighted that everyone else loves Riley just as much as they do, and love seeing and hearing all the stories about how Riley made people’s days better. For Riley, it’s just who he is — he’s an incredibly friendly, social dog who loves giving hugs, carrying his own leash when he goes on walks, posing for photos and leaning over his wall to brighten the days of every single person who passes by.