It Took This Couple A Year To Earn The Trust Of A Sweet Stray Dog

For animal lovers, it can be tempting to take in a stray dog. The problem is that they often have a troubled past that makes them distrustful of humans. One couple spent a year earning the trust of a stray dog they couldn’t give up on. Read on to see how they gently supported this dog, who eventually decided to adopt them!

Going For A Routine Walk


A married couple named Joe and Marla loved to go on walks around their neighborhood. The beautiful area was wide open with lovely countryside and there were walking trails throughout.

They made habit of going for a stroll together to pass the time, but one day stood out among the rest. The couple was walking along the paved trail, minding their own business when something caught their eye. They realized there was an animal running towards them.

A Stray Dog

Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

The couple soon realized that the animal bolting toward them was a stray dog! Some would be afraid at such a sight and feel the urge to run away. After all, they had no idea what the dog’s temperament would be or if he had rabies.

That wasn’t the case for Joe and Marla, though. The couple loves animals and has a dog of their own. They could quickly evaluate the stray dog to determine how to best proceed.

Stray Dogs Were Common In The Area

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Another reason that Joe and Marla may have been so confident around the dog is that this sort of thing was a regular occurrence. Joe explained to The Dodo that the area they walked along was a place where dogs were commonly dropped off.

It’s hard to imagine an owner parting ways with their canine by simply leaving them out in nature. However, this does happen and it was something Joe and Marla were aware of.

The Dog Was Frightened

Marcus Cramer/Unsplash
Marcus Cramer/Unsplash

The couple wanted to help the dog, but there was one problem. The canine didn’t trust them enough to even come near them. He certainly wasn’t looking to harm them, but he also wasn’t going to run into their arms.

The dog eventually ran off, but that wasn’t the end of it. The couple started noticing the canine more and more, which lead them to believe that he really didn’t have an owner to be found.

Wanting To Help

Adithyan R/Pixabay
Adithyan R/Pixabay

Another reason the couple believed the dog might not have an owner is because he looked like he wasn’t getting enough to eat. Joe told The Dodo that the canine was, “a big, starving looking dog that was poking his head out of the woods.”

Being that the couple already had a dog, they had plenty of dog food to offer the stray. To be able to feed him, they’d have to earn the canine’s trust first.

Offering A Treat

Kyle Mackie/Unsplash
Kyle Mackie/Unsplash

Joe figured that a dog treat would be a perfect peace offering. The dog would only get so close to the couple, so seeing if it would take a treat would be a good test.

The pair went out to the same place they usually saw the dog and waited until he arrived. The canine predictably showed up and ran toward them. Though they had seen him multiple times, the dog was still wary about getting too close.

The First Breakthrough

Marek Szturc/Unsplash
Marek Szturc/Unsplash

Joe could have just set the treat down and then walked away, but he wanted to test the dog. He kept the treat in his hand and gently bent down to hold it out.

The dog was hesitant but clearly wanted the treat. To get it, he’d have to trust Joe enough to eat it out of Joe’s hand. Joe used soft, encouraging words to establish that he was safe, and the dog slowly made his way over and got the treat!

Full Of Mistrust

jules a./Unsplash
jules a./Unsplash

Even though the dog was willing to take the treat out of Joe’s hand, he still had a long way to go. As soon as he grabbed the treat, the canine took a few steps back to create more distance.

Joe and Marla commended the dog by telling him “good boy” in a high-pitched tone. While the dog didn’t immediately run off, it was clear that he mistrusted humans. That made the couple even more sure that he needed a good home.

They Named Him Scooby

Of course, the mystery of the stray dog could have been quickly solved if he had a collar. The dog didn’t, though, and so there was no way to tell if he had an owner or even a name!

The couple decided to name him Scooby, which is fitting considering that the dog resembles the cartoon character Scooby-Doo. Anytime they would return to the trail, they’d call out the name to see if the dog would respond.

Disappearing For Months

Amy Burgess/Unsplash
Amy Burgess/Unsplash

While it seemed that Joe and Marla were finally making progress, that all changed when Scooby disappeared. The couple continued to return to their walking trail, but Scooby was nowhere to be found.

As the weeks started to turn, the warm summer turned into a chilly fall. The couple wanted to be sure that Scooby had a warm place to rest. They were committed as ever to finding the dog before the cold winter came.

Still No Scooby

Joshua Fuller/Unsplash
Joshua Fuller/Unsplash

While the couple aimed to find Scooby before the fall ended, they were unable to do so. Winter rolled around and the field Scooby would run to them on became covered in snow.

The weather started to make the couple wonder about how Scooby was doing. While filming their search, Marla asked aloud, “What is he doing? Where is he sleeping?” They couldn’t forget the sweet dog, especially after they had just started earning his trust.

They Didn’t Give Up

Even though months went by with no sign of Scooby, Joe and Marla still kept going out to the walking path and calling out his name. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, the couple continued their search, believing he might still show up.

Then one day in summer, Scooby did show up! Marla was calling his name and then let out a gasp as she saw the dog excitedly racing toward them. She exclaimed, “That’s a good boy!”

Growing More Comfortable

Alexandra Mirghe/Unsplash
Alexandra Mirghe/Unsplash

Though Scooby had done miraculously well through the winter and was again reunited with Joe and Marla, they still had a ways to go. They still hadn’t even pet the dog before!

The couple had plenty of patience, though. They simply appreciated his presence, which made Scooby feel all the more comfortable. Slowly but surely, the dog started moving in a little closer to the couple. No longer did the canine feel he had to run away.

Then Scooby Started Following Them

The next major breakthrough came when Scooby started following Joe and Marla. After paying the dog a visit, they turned to walk back and realized that he was following behind!

Scooby got close enough to sniff Joe’s pants and started walking circles around the couple. Marla told The Dodo, “It’s like he adopted us at that point.” The couple’s consistent comfort and reassurance had made a huge impression on Scooby, and he was started to build trust.

Showing Up At Their House

By the end of the summer, Scooby was showing up at their pool. As the days went by, the dog started inching his way closer and closer to Joe and Marla’s house.

It got to a point where whenever the couple would arrive home, Scooby would race up to greet them. The dog would merrily run next to their car to say hello. Still, Scooby would get a little reluctant whenever Joe or Marla got too close.

Meeting Samson

Katrin B./Unsplash
Katrin B./Unsplash

Not only were Joe and Marla earning Scooby’s trust, but the dog was also gaining the couple’s trust. One day, they decided to let their dog, Samson, come out to meet Scooby.

The canines hit it off right away! They began playing together on the front lawn and were instant friends. Seeing how safe Samson felt around Joe and Marla helped further convince Scooby that he could trust the couple. Before long, the dogs were inseparable.

Stepping Into The House

Just like with Joe and Marla, Scooby started to get closer and closer to their house, as well. He would play with Samson on the field and follow him up to the porch.

Then one day Scooby followed Samson straight into the front door! As soon as he passed the threshold, Scooby hesitated. Marla gasped when she saw him entering the house. Joe calmly reassured the dog, saying, “Come on, Scooby. You can do it.”

Sniffing Around His New Home

After pausing at the door, Scooby made his way into the house and started sniffing all around! By now, he was comfortable enough to let Joe pet him.

Still, Joe and Marla couldn’t believe how far the stray dog had come. It had been over a year since they first encountered Scooby, and now the canine was in their home! The pooch even made his way upstairs, sniffing each step as he went and touring the bedrooms.

Taking Him To The Vet

Now that Scooby was officially comfortable with Joe and Marla, it was time to take him to the vet. They would not only be able to check on his health but could scan for a microchip in case there was another owner.

After a trip to the vet, Scooby was confirmed to be healthy and officially theirs! The canine was less than 2 years old, which meant he was just a puppy when they first met.

Home Sweet Home

Joe and Marla got Scooby a collar and welcomed him into the family. They shared the story on TikTok and attracted tons of attention from people who supported their selfless efforts.

Some fans even started sending gifts to the couple for Scooby and Sampson, such as dog beds and Christmas ornaments! Scooby started out looking for a loving home, and now he has support from his new family and plenty of online supporters who care.