Finally, a forever home
COAL TOWNSHIP - Noel, a Labrador/Weimaraner mix, bounces and plays around the Coal Township home of Barbara and Tom Snyder, showing she's happy to be there.
The couple welcomed the new addition two days after Christmas, inspiring her new name. A few months earlier, Baby Girl, as she was called by workers at an animal shelter, only knew as home a small yard in which she was chained and neglected for six weeks during the summer after her owner committed suicide.
But those six weeks didn't temper the dog's ability to love.
"She is such a great dog and doing so well, considering what she went through," Barbara Snyder said. "She's giving as much to us as we give to her."
"Noel's got us exercising again," Tom Snyder said. "We went for a two-hour walk today and she still had the energy to play afterwards."
No one noticed
It was more than a month before anyone realized the man with whom Baby Girl lived in the Norristown area was gone. No one seemed to notice the mail piling up or the dog in the yard without food or water.
"Reading her story, it was amazing to me that the neighbors, even the mailman, didn't check on the man or the dog for so long," Barbara said. "She was out there during the hottest days of the year."
After six weeks of being outside and eating wood from a nearby wood pile for sustenance, the dog was placed in a local shelter. At the time of her rescue, Baby Girl, who the shelter said is about four years old, weighed only 33 pounds.
The American Kennel Club estimates the average size of an adult Labrador Retriever is between 55 to 75 pounds.
'Fell in love'
The Snyders were looking for a dog after losing their Weimarner, Abby, last February. Originally, they agreed to not get another dog, until Barbara looked at a pet adoption website with a co-worker.
"I just read her story and fell in love," Barbara said. "I brought the story home and showed it to Tom, thought about it and he said to call them."
They discovered Noel was the perfect dog for them.
"I wanted a Labrador, while she wanted another Weimaraner," Tom said. "Noel was the perfect mix."
But before they could bring their perfect companion home, the couple went through a stringent adoption process.
"They were a little skeptical at first because the shelter we were working with normally keep their adoptions within 30 miles so they can do surprise inspections," Barbara said. "They did interviews, checked references and so much more, but here she is today."
The Snyders said Noel has grown accustomed to her new home.
"She slept through the first night she stayed here," Tom said. "She played with the toys we got for her and people have been checking with the shelter on Facebook, wanting updates on her."
"She's a great watchdog, too," Barbara added.
The couple hopes their story will inspire others to adopt shelter dogs.
"Anyone can get a puppy," Barbara said. "It takes a special person to adopt a rescue dog. Many people think shelter dogs are bad dogs, and Noel is living proof of the opposite."