Since June of 2020, Francis’ story has been viewed over 2.4 million times.
Then again, it’s Howard’s story too – there wouldn’t have been a rescue without him.
Danny Sparks is a DJ and animal advocate at A SafeFurr Place Animal Rescue in Bakersfield, California.
One day, he saw a dog roaming the neighborhood and decided to earn its trust in the hopes of getting it to the rescue. At first, the dog, who he named Francis, wanted the treats but nothing to do with the human.
Instead of forcing the issue, Sparks came around each day to gave him more treats, getting a little closer each time.
Eventually, Francis would sit near him but still didn’t want to be touched.
Sparks heard from neighbors that Francis ran around in the evenings with a big, tan dog with a collar. Presuming the dog belonged to someone, Sparks set out to meet the dogs in the evening to catch them at play.
He soon found out that Howard’s owners had left him behind after moving and that he was also a stray. So he gave both dogs treats and tried to earn their trust.
Howard was the first to give in. What can we say? He likes treats! (And he also knew what it was like to have a home and humans that fed him, even if they were cruel enough to eventually abandon him.)
I want what he’s having
It didn’t take much bribing to get Howard to accept some affection. And as soon as Francis saw that it was ok, he let Sparks give him some ear scratches as well.
Then the rescuer concocted a plan. He would try to get both dogs in the car by throwing some cheeseburger in there.
One piece was all Howard needed before he was making himself at home in the backseat.
But apparently, Francis had a more developed sense of “stranger danger’ and no amount of burger could get him into the vehicle.
Figuring two was better than none, Sparks took Howard to his home a few blocks away where he let him play in the yard.
Tracking down a friend
Sparks planned to go back and continue working on gaining Francis’ trust the very next day, but it turns out he didn’t have to.
Francis had managed to follow them. He was in the driveway waiting the very next morning.
But that didn’t mean he was ready to become a housepet. Francis spent the day hanging out in the driveway and rejecting any attempts to put him on a leash.
But, eventually, Sparks got him into the backyard where he agreed to play. After all, Howard was already having fun back there.
Once he got used to being more confined thanks to being near his friend, he was ready for a foster home.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find homes for large dogs in the Bakersfield area.
The dogs were street pals and Howard helped Francis learn to trust people, but they are not a bonded pair. They each have their own personalities and needs and it made sense to send them to separate rescues for fostering and adoption.
Of course, some people think animals bond the same way that humans do and genuinely complained that the dogs were rescued at all if they were going to be separated!
“That’s so terrible that they were separated. I’m sure that the dogs would rather be together on the street then separated and in homes.”
What can we day, some people write their own idea of a happy ending and expect nothing less. But the dogs are perfectly happy and show no signs of trauma.
The only problem is they both appear to still be searching for homes. So feel free to take them in if you insist they stay together!
And be sure to scroll down below to see the sweet story of their rescue.
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