NIAGARA, N.Y. — Daryl Koczaja and Melissa Leuer of Cheektowaga are proud to welcome a new member to the family — Joey a pitbull terrier mix who’s been at the Niagara County SPCA for more than 500 days.
"I just couldn’t believe he went over 500 days without anybody attempting to look at him it’s incredible," Koczaja said.
Joey was rescued in an animal cruelty case and was one of the longest-tenured tenants of the SPCA, but is now starting a new chapter.
"All animals deserve a chance in life and when Melissa showed me it was over 500 days I couldn’t believe it there was a dog there for over 500 days," Koczaja said.
A couple weeks ago Leuer learned about Joey on the Niagara County SPCA’s Facebook page and told Koczaja all about him — they just had to see him.
"And when our appointment finally happened we both just fell in love with him it was funny he was just so energetic he was full of life," Koczaja said.
Because of what happened in the past, Joey experiences anxiety, but feels comfortable around Koczaja and Leuer.
"They actually wanted us to adopt or actually foster him for two weeks just to see how everything went and then after the first day bring him home we just knew exactly this was going to be his forever home," Koczaja said.
And, the SPCA couldn’t just let him walk out the door they had to throw him a goodbye celebration, and the video has gone viral.
"There’s an interesting dynamic that happens in the shelter the staff from the volunteers to the staff from the infirmary staff to the kennel staff the behavior staff they all become very much attached to these dogs especially our long term residents," said Timothy Brennan, the executive director of the Niagara County SPCA.
Once in need of a good home Joey is now blessed with loving parents who vow to cherish him.
"I know he touched a lot of hearts out there because once the adoption went through yesterday all the love and support coming through to him has been unbelievable and I was just happy he was able to find his home and I think he’s going to be happy here," Koczaja said.