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From the start of his life, he faced hardship. As a puppy, he was abandoned at a garage sale. He had a massive abscess on his face and needed corrective surgery.
When he came to live at the animal shelter, he was taken care of quite well. But he spent day in and day out waiting for a family to adopt him. The longer he was there, the less desirable he became to potential families.
As the years went by, he became used to adults, but not children, since he was rarely exposed to them. Combine that and his natural strength and energy, and he could even bowl over young kids. So families with small children were deterred from adopting him.
But even though he wouldn't be a perfect fit for a family with small kids, it didn't mean that he was unadoptable.
Merrick is athletic and loves to play. He is all about good fun and never showed any aggression with people, but he does play hard. His playfulness and desire to love and be loved should have been enough to get him adopted. But for 5 and a half years, it wasn't.
'Tis the season to root for Merrick! — SCOTT POORE, MISSION DRIVEN
Merrick not getting adopted wasn't for lack of trying. The Humane Society and Mission Driven tried all the usual campaigns to find him a forever home.
Then one night, Scott of Mission Driven was at home and thought, "Why not try a billboard!"
The ultimate goal with the billboard was to find Merrick a forever home. But it would also be a feel-good story for the holidays.
The billboard exposed Merrick to people who didn't follow the Humane Society or Mission Driven on social media.
And it worked. Merrick's story became a sensation and was featured all over the United States. One day, a guy named Jordan Nussbaum saw the billboard and persuaded his girlfriend that Merrick was the dog they wanted.
Jordan told local news, "It broke my heart that he sat there. But it was destined that he waited that long."
For Jordan and his girlfriend, it was love at first sight with Merrick.
Merrick loves his new family. He enjoys running around in his large yard, drinking from the toilet, and even crushing on the female dog that lives next door.