BREWER, Maine — A 12-year-old beagle staring out from behind cage bars at the Bangor Humane Society last year captured the heart of a local boy, who fell in love with the homeless dog and then created a way to give back to the animal shelter that connected the two buddies.

Matthew Gross, 10, adopted the short-legged hound and then created what he calls “The Ride for the Wet Nose,” raising just over $1,000.

“He wasn’t doing that great and that is why we adopted him,” the 10-year-old Brewer Community School sixth grader said on Monday about his dog, which he named Buddy. “He’s the third dog in the family. My mom saw him on the [Bangor Humane Society’s] website … and we decided we wanted to adopted him.”

Gross raised money last year by getting sponsors for a 17-mile ride, and this year, he is out collecting donations again for a 22.5-mile ride around the Brewer area that he’ll embark on Thursday, starting at Pat’s Bike Shop on Wilson Street.

“I trail him,” his father, Brewer Firefighter-EMT Jason Gross, said. “He leads the way and I go behind him.”

The duo will take off from Pat’s and travel toward Orrington, around Brewer Lake and into Holden before turning back toward Brewer and traveling down Whiting Hill via Dirigo Drive, and back to Pat’s Bike Shop, he said.

“It’s something he believes in,” Jason Gross said of the animal shelter benefit ride his son created.

Last year, when Gross and his dad walked into the Bangor Humane Society with the surprise check, “it was awesome,” Matthew Gross said.“I’m helping the animals.”

Those interested in finding out more can contact the Bangor Humane Society, which is where donations for the Ride for the Wet Nose can be dropped off. Visit or call 207-942-8902.