Meet Rufus McScruffyFace. This adorable Jack Russell Terrier mix was at an animal shelter in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit. In the wake of Maria, he was one of hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats airlifted by The Humane Society of the United States from Puerto Rico to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. When Rufus and the others arrived at the emergency shelter, our RedRover Responders team was ready with compassion, dedication and open arms.

This was our third deployment in five weeks, after responding to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. At. St. Hubert’s, our volunteers worked for six days, as more and more evacuated animals arrived by plane. While in the care of our warmhearted volunteers, all of the animals were triaged, vaccinated, treated and cared for before being transferred to sister adoption facilities across the Northeast.

Rufus, then called Pepe, was just a puppy, estimated to be about a year old. After his time at the St. Hubert’s way-station, he ended up at Second Chance Animal Rescue in East Brookfield, Massachusetts – where he met the couple who would become his family.

Jody and Sanford had lost their rescued English Setter last December, and they decided it was time to start looking for another dog – ideally, a “scruffy” dog between 15 and 30 pounds. For weeks, Jody searched different rescues, devoting herself to “online doggy dating” as if it was a second job. But finding the right dog proved to be a challenge.

Finally, they found Rufus online at the Second Chance Animal Shelter. “He looked just right,” Sanford said. They drove nearly an hour to the shelter…and decided on the spot to adopt him.

Now, two weeks later, Rufus is happily settled in to his new home in the country. “We take him to the dog park, and this tiny little guy can command like 20 other dogs and keep up with the bigger, faster dogs in the pack,” says his “doggy dad,” Sanford.

Rufus loves to run around their backyard like it’s a race track, burning off puppy energy, and will even do it on command.

Jody says,  “It’s a joy to behold how every day Rufus settles in more deeply to being safe and truly home. He charms everyone he meets – his goofy little face and buoyant nature are irresistible. He’s such a smart and happy guy!”

The couple reports that Rufus has gained a couple of pounds in the last couple of weeks, and is making progress on “sit, “stay” and “come.”

“We’re best buddies already,” says Sanford. “I’m seeing things through a puppy’s eyes, in which everything in the world has a smell or not and offers a new experience to be had.  We’re so excited that he’s come into our lives, bringing new cuddliness, exercise and adventure for all of us.”

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