Life can sometimes be sad and lonely for shelter dogs, who spend their days in kennels just waiting to get adopted. But these dogs often find real moments of joy: even the simplest things can mean so much to an animal with so little in the world.
Recently, one shelter dog had the best night of his life after managing to break out of his kennel in the middle of the night — and with the place to himself, he played with every toy he could find.
One morning Joyce Ross arrived at work at the Bedford County Humane Society in Pennsylvania. She was surprised to be greeted by one of their dogs, Gilligan, who was out of his kennel.
“I see Gilligan running around all excited, playing, jumping around. I’m like. ‘Gill, how’d you get out?’” she told WTAJ.
She soon realized exactly what Gilligan had been up to: he had been up all night partying with his favorite toys.
The shelter’s rooms and hallways were filled with scattered doggy toys. A now-viral Tik Tok video shared by the employee shows how many toys were left in his wake — and how overjoyed the dog still was.
“By his look, I saw he was excited and had a great night all night. He was proud, very proud,” Joyce told WTAJ.
It turned out that Gillian’s kennel hadn’t been properly latched the night before, so he was able to sneak out — and quickly seized on the opportunity.
Security footage revealed how he spent the whole night exploring the shelter’s stock of dog toys they had just received as Christmas donations, and carefully picked out his favorite “squeaky” toys.
“He spent a long time checking to see if anyone was in the building,” Joyce told The dodo. “Once he realized he was alone, he went straight for the toys.”
“He went through each toy one by one to pull out each squeaker,” she told WTAJ. “And the ones that didn’t have a squeaker, he pulled out and left alone. He skipped all the ones that didn’t have squeakers. He only wanted the squeakers.”
Gilligan had “no remorse” over his actions, and clearly had the time of his life. And surveying the damage the next morning, the shelter employees could do nothing but laugh.
Joyce said that his only crime was destroying some squeaky dog toys that “had no chance” of surviving anyway. And no one could stay mad at Gilligan, who arrived at the shelter as a puppy and has spent most of his life as their loyal office mascot.
“He is a wonderful office greeter,” Joyce told The Dodo. “Every time someone walks through the doors, he lets us know while he patiently waits for the visitor to bring him treats or even possibly a new toy. He has definitely made progress.”
Gilligan has been in the shelter’s care long enough that it sounds like he’s not a candidate for adoption. A shelter employee explained that Gilligan has been extremely anxious and afraid of meeting new people his whole life, and that the office is his “safe space.”
“This is all he’s ever known… I don’t think we’re going to part with Gilligan,” Joyce told WTAJ.
But his viral story has delighted countless people online, and the shelter staff are happy that he’s brought such publicity to the shelter after having such a fun night for himself. “What a great way to show off our shelter and show people that fabulous dogs are waiting at the shelter,” Joyce said.
And while the staff is going to make sure to keep the kennels securely locked at night from now on, Gilligan won’t be wanting for toys any time soon, thanks to his newfound fame.
“We had a lady call and said she would like to buy Gilligan a toy every month for the rest of his life.”
What a funny story! We’re glad Gilligan had such a great time during his wild night out. He deserves all the squeaky toys he can get!