LARGO, Fla. - Thom Sousa wanted to help after Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, but wasn't sure how. Then the Largo SPCA provided a way that touched his heart forever: He met Stella.
The Largo SPCA rescued the 2-and-a-half-year-old American Foxhound from the area impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Stella was abandoned in the Panhandle and was found still chained to a tree following the storm.
In her, Sousa saw a way to help, but he never expected to also fall in love.
"I think this is about the sweetest dog I could have ever found," he said.
Something made him want to check with the SPCA that day that he found her.
"I hadn't been anywhere like that in six years and having that time 24/7 crammed with her, we couldn't have had a better bonding experience," Sousa explained.
And that experience makes him tell others to adopt instead of shop for a four-legged friend.
"Fall in love with a shelter pet," he encourages. "Let them pick you out though, you'll be really glad you did."
He continued, "I wish people, rather than go to the stores, go to your shelter, they have amazing animals."
Because that's where their worlds collided.
"My feeling on her story is that we were supposed to be together," Sousa said.
And, in Sousa, Stella has found her forever home.