Bandit appeared to be destined for the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program in Georgia for the remainder of his life after being adopted and returned four times. The wheelchair-bound dog is adorable and loving, but his particular demands necessitate a lot of attention and have turned off many potential adopters over the years. Though everyone in the program has always liked him, they also wanted him to experience what it’s like to have a loving family and a lasting home.
It looked like the proper family would never come along — until a couple spotted a Facebook post about Bandit and realized they could provide him with the love and care he required.
Darrell and Sue Rider were hooked on Bandit as soon as they heard about it. They weren’t afraid of Bandit’s particular requirements because Darrell, too, uses a wheelchair.
“The most unique aspect of Bandit is that he and I both have paralysis and require a wheelchair to go anywhere,” Bandit’s new father, Darrell Rider, told The Dodo. “Because Sue and I know what it’s like to live in a wheelchair, we understood exactly what Bandit needed. We also felt a much stronger bond.”
The couple carefully contemplated adding Bandit to their family and contacted the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program to learn everything they needed to know about Bandit’s care. The discussions lasted a month until everyone agreed that this was the perfect match, and the pair made plans to meet Bandit for the first time.
“Darrell said Bandit was ‘exactly like him,’ and they wanted to give him a home where he would be understood and well cared for,” Lori Cronin, a volunteer with the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program, told The Dodo.
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind after meeting Bandit. Darrell and Sue Rider were supposed to be Bandit’s parents, and after speaking with his handlers and doctor, as well as making sure their home was set for him, it was finally time to bring him home. Everyone on the program was saddened to say goodbye to Bandit. He’d been there for so long and was so loved, but while his handlers and all the volunteers were sad to see him go, they were also overjoyed that he was finally receiving the happy ending he deserved.
“He meant so much to everyone of us at the detention facility that it’s unusual to walk into the unit he was in and not have him rushing up to you for a treat,” Cronin said. “His raspy bark and the’smile’ he always appeared to have on that fuzzy face of his are missed.” His handler has recently acquired another dog with which to train, but he and the other handlers in the unit miss him. We’re all adapting to his absence and are overjoyed that Bandit now has his own place.”
Bandit has settled in so nicely at his new home that it feels as though he’s been there for years. He’s already gone on several travels with his new family and adores them as if he’s known them his entire life. It’s been a long time coming, but Bandit is now where he belongs: side by side with someone who understands it.
“Bandit is doing fantastically well and has fit in better than we could have hoped with his new family and surroundings,” Rider added. “We as his family are overjoyed to have Bandit in our life.”
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