04/19/2012 03:21 pm ET Updated Jun 19, 2012

At Long Last, Penny Finds a Home

Although it's a bit archaic, you may be familiar with one or another version of the saying "A bad penny always comes back to you." It's most commonly used to refer to the bad son (or friend or employee or relative) who, when you least expect them, inevitably and unwelcomingly returns. This however, is the story of a very good Penny, and one we don't expect to see returned.

Penny first arrived at Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA almost two years ago to the day: April 26, 2010. A stray pit bull, found lost and roaming (and obviously confused) in Menlo Park, the one year old puppy literally grew up here in our shelter. A favorite of staff and volunteers, one of those gentle giants (and, OK, a bit of a doofus), this 90 pounder wasn't the prettiest or brightest dog any of us have ever met and that, combined with her breed, meant she was essentially overlooked by adopters smitten by the competition. Not everyone wants an oversized pit bull lapdog.

And speaking of the competition, one note in her rather voluminous computer record nicely sums up her behavior around other dogs: "She's learned quite a few dog manners since her initial intake but might still be too excitable for small dogs that are shy around larger animals. (Her play style is boisterous, off-putting to many small dogs.) That being said, she gets along well with Sherman the Chihuahua since he has told her off many times and she has learned to be OK with that."

Penny watched her little friend Sherman find a home, along with a long line of other classmates from her regular behavior classes and playgroups. Walked every day, cared for by staff and volunteers, cured of a skin ailment and some other health issues by our veterinarians, hugged and belly rubbed by many but still not in a home, we began to wonder if our commitment to never put to sleep a healthy dog or cat might make of Penny a permanent resident. (Let me pause here to not only acknowledge an amazingly compassionate staff but also the remarkable gift of time from over 1,400 volunteers: combined, that energy and attention means long-term residents like Penny are loved and not simply housed.) Happily, although she'll be missed, Penny just left us for a family of her own.

Enzo, an adorable English Bulldog, and his humans had just lost to illness another lovely dog and came by to see if we could help them make a match. An hour of exhausting play in our indoor dog park gave the two dogs a chance to fall completely head-over-paws in love. Those humans were totally smitten too, and it's obvious that Penny has now found her forever family. And since her fan club is so big around here, they're planning on stopping by once a month so that we can all see how well Penny is doing. Brings to mind another old saying, something about "a Penny saved..."