Rescue dog finally lands 'forever home' after swapping places with shelter director

When Max first arrived at the Susquehanna SPCA shelter, the workers didn't think he'd stay long. The 5-year-old pit bull terrier mix was sweet and friendly—which ironically led to a longer than normal stay. As of March 3, he had been at the shelter for 444 days.

"When he came here, we thought he would find his home easily because he is such a nice guy," executive director Stacie Haynes told Fox 5 News. "Turns out, he just kept getting looked over and he wasn't on our radar as an urgent dog to get out because he is just so sweet."

Max stepped into the limelight recently when Haynes swapped places with the dog for a day in an effort to raise awareness about the shelter and educate people about what life is like for a shelter dog. Max got to hang out in Haynes's office and even wore a tie for the day, while Haynes did her work on Max's bed in his kennel (with an occasional bathroom break, some enrichment activities, and people walking by to check her out, she said).

Haynes told WBGN that Max didn't really know life outside the shelter, having been there so long.


"He's a very good boy. He's very friendly, he comes up to the kennel wagging his tail," said Haynes. "He just wants to be your friend."

However, shelter life is generally hard on dogs, as they're constantly trying to protect their space from different people coming through. "You're constantly trying to make sure you're safe," said Haynes.

Dogs often become anxious when they're sheltered too long, always on alert and prone to panic. But Max's response was different. The longer he stayed, the more he became depressed and lethargic, sometimes staring at a wall.

Haynes said the 444 minutes she spent in the kennel gave her an extra dose of empathy for Max. Shelters provide a wonderful service, giving animals food and a place to live while trying to find them permanent arrangements, but they aren't meant to be long-term.

"Time feels like it's stood still. It has gone very, very slowly. I can understand why Max is staring at the wall. I found myself sitting here trying to count the links of the chain link," Haynes said of her time in the kennel.

The dog-director day swap got the attention of local news agencies, which led Ed Panus of Moravia, New York to come to the shelter to meet Max. Panus said he felt an instant connection with the doggo.

"I noticed he was almost like the dog I had that passed away here at the end of last year," Panus told WBNG News 12.

So after 450 days living at the Susquehanna SPCA and four months at a different shelter before that, Max has finally found his forever home with Panus.

The shelter had said that when Max was adopted, they would help provide a behavioral specialist to ease him through the transition from shelter life to home life. So far, so good it seems. Panus said Max immediately made himself at home, even jumping right into Panus's human bed.

Congratulations Ed and Max! Hope you both enjoy your new life together.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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