Across The Miles

Alone, confused and afraid Delgato, a rare breed known as a Cane Corso or an Italian Mastiff, panted nervously in his kennel at the Polk County Animal Shelter. Having been surrendered there by his owner days before, his time was up.

Luckily for Delgato, an animal advocate familiar with the breed spotted him and knew a place that might offer hope.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) answered the advocate’s request for help and transferred Delgato to their shelter. Delgato arrived at HSTB emaciated and depressed, but gentle and calm towards humans and other dogs at the shelter.

Not long after his arrival at HSTB, the Holiday magic began to happen.

Carolyn Hopkins, a native of Virginia and owner of a Cane Corso, was in Orlando at a conference when she heard about Delgato. She had been looking for a male companion for her female and knew that fate had brought them together. She came to visit him and his spirits immediately picked up in her presence. His stub of a tail wagged wildly and he burrowed his big head into her body. Perhaps he knew; she was “home”.

Hopkins completed the adoption paperwork that same day, but had to fly back to Virginia and make arrangements for her new family member. Glen Hatchell, HSTB’s Dog Trainer, agreed to foster Delgato at his home to reduce his stress, acclimate him to living in a home again, and do some basic obedience training. After a week of TLC, Glen’s wife Kelly packed Delgato in the car with her HSTB adopted Corgi mix and headed north. The two parties met near Delgato’s new home in Virginia where he officially began his new life.

And so, against all odds and across the miles, this gentle giant is home for the holidays, and forever.

Known for their majestic, powerful and large-boned physique, the Cane Corso is often misunderstood to be a dangerous breed. In actuality, Cane Corsos are “intelligent, docile and affectionate … loving with children and family”, according to the American Kennel Club. They are easily trained and exceptional protectors of property and family. Because of their size, they require high levels of exercise and an experienced handler.

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