Max, a 5-year-old pit bull terrier mix, has finally found a loving forever home after an unexpectedly long 444-day stint at the Susquehanna SPCA in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Shelter employees didn’t expect the canine to stay that long when he first arrived. But the weeks turned into months, and soon enough, Max passed the one-year mark and beyond.

“When he came here, we thought he would find his home easily because he is such a nice guy,” Executive Director Stacie Haynes told Fox 5 News. “Turns out, he just kept getting looked over and he wasn’t on our radar as an urgent dog to get out because he is just so sweet.”

The pup maintained his pleasant, friendly demeanor despite the long stay at the shelter. But as he awaited adoption, Max became increasingly depressed and lethargic, often staring at the wall for long periods.

To attract potential adopters and educate people about what shelter life is like for dogs, Haynes traded places with Max for 444 minutes, symbolizing his 444-day-and-counting stay at the SPCA. Max spent the day in her office donning a tie while Haynes stationed herself on the dog’s bed and worked from inside his kennel.

Local news agencies covered the swap, inspiring Ed Panus from nearby Moravia to travel to the shelter to meet Max. Their connection was instant.

Max left the shelter with his new pet parent and quickly settled in. Finally able to enjoy the safety and stability of a forever home, he was noticeably happier and more content within days of starting his new life chapter.

“He sits up on the couch with me to watch TV, he’s great,” said Panus. “He comes into the house like he’s been here forever.”