For shelter dogs that spend their days in kennels waiting to be adopted, life can be sad and lonely at times.
However, these dogs frequently experience genuine joy: even the simplest things may mean so much to an animal with so little.
One shelter dog recently had the time of his life after breaking out of his kennel in the middle of the night — and with the entire facility to himself, he played with every toy he could find.
Joyce Ross came at the Bedford County Humane Society in Pennsylvania one morning.
She was taken aback when she was greeted by one of their dogs, Gilligan, who had broken free from his kennel.
“I see Gilligan running around all excited, playing, jumping around. I’m like. ‘Gill, how’d you get out?’” she said on WTAJ.
Gilligan had been up all night partying with his favorite toys, and she soon recognized what he had been up to.
The rooms and halls of the shelter were littered with dog toys. The employee’s now-viral TikTok video showed how many toys were left in his wake — and how happy the dog was still.
“By his look, I saw he was excited and had a great night all night. He was proud, very proud,” Joyce told WTAJ.
@stardust9822 Gillagan had one crazy night last night. 🥰 #funnydogvideos #shelterdogs #dog ♬ original sound – Stardust9822
Gillian’s kennel had been improperly secured the night before, so he was able to get out — and swiftly took advantage of the situation.
He spent the entire night inspecting the shelter’s collection of dog toys, which they had just received as Christmas donations, and carefully selecting his favorite “squeaky” toys, according to security footage.
@stardust9822 Gilligan's crazy night caught on camera part 1 of 2. #dog #shelterdogs #funnydogvideos #shelterdogsbestlife ♬ original sound – Stardust9822
Joyce told The Dodo, “He spent a long time checking to see if anyone was in the building. Once he realized he was alone, he went straight for the toys.”
“He went through each toy one by one to pull out each squeaker,” she added WTAJ.
“And the ones that didn’t have a squeaker, he pulled out and left alone. He skipped all the ones that didn’t have squeakers. He only wanted the squeakers.”
@stardust9822 Gilligan's crazy night caught on camera part 2 of 2.#shelterdogsbestlife #funnydogvideos #shelterdogs #dog ♬ original sound – Stardust9822
Gilligan had “no remorse” for his conduct and was plainly having a good time. The next morning, when the shelter personnel assessed the damage, they couldn’t help but laugh.
Joyce said that his only offense was tossing out some squeaky dog toys that “had no chance” of surviving in the first place.
No one could be furious at Gilligan, who was a puppy when he arrived at the shelter and has spent the most of his life as their devoted workplace mascot.
Joyce told The Dodo, “He is a wonderful office greeter. Every time someone walks through the doors, he lets us know while he patiently waits for the visitor to bring him treats or even possibly a new toy. He has definitely made progress.”
Gilligan has been in the shelter long enough that he doesn’t appear to be a good fit for adoption.
An employee at the shelter indicated that Gilligan has spent his entire life being apprehensive and terrified of meeting new people, and that the workplace is his “safe space.”
“This is all he’s ever known… I don’t think we’re going to part with Gilligan,” Joyce added WTAJ.
However, his viral story has delighted a large number of people online, and the shelter staff is pleased that he has brought such attention to the shelter after such a good night for himself.
“What a great way to show off our shelter and show people that fabulous dogs are waiting at the shelter,” Joyce added.
While the crew will make every effort to keep the kennels secure at night from now on, Gilligan will not be short on toys anytime soon, thanks to his newfound celebrity.
“We had a lady call and said she would like to buy Gilligan a toy every month for the rest of his life.”