"He was kind of adventurous, considering," she said, noting that though he was timid, Vito was very playful.

However, because she already owns two dogs and doesn't want to have more than three in her house at one time, Novak worked with Beagle Freedom Project to find Vito a permanent home.

"The more [dogs] you have, the less attention each one gets," she said. "I don't want that third dog because I want to have room for another Beagle Freedom dog."

On Aug. 31, Novak met Jeff and Laura Graves, of Pittsburgh, at a park halfway between their homes and they officially adopted Vito as their own.

"We had three beagles," said Jeff Graves. "One of them passed away in December and one of the remaining two was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

"I've always liked beagles, and we decided we wanted to get another one," he said. "I just did a Web search for rescue beagles and up popped their [Beagle Freedom Project's] site.

Graves said he filled out an application once he saw Vito's picture on the website and, within a month, had interviewed with Novak and Beagle Freedom Project representatives to adopt him.

Novak said she interviewed a number of candidates for Vito's adoption, but she felt the Graves were the best fit.

"Based on what they're doing for their dogs now, I know he's going to get the best medical treatment, the best time and attention with them," she said. "I'm heartbroken that he's gone, but he's in the best place."

Graves said that after a rough first few days, Vito has adjusted to his new home.

"Now he interacts with our dogs," Graves said. "It's great: They sleep together; it's cute.

"They actually all sleep in the bed with us," he said. "It's my wife and me, and three dogs."

He said they have been sending regular email updates and photos to Novak to update her on his progress, a process they plan to continue in the coming months.