Wall-E was just a young dog when he was first adopted from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) in 2015. The Lab mix’s new family brought him home, cared for him and spoiled the once homeless pup with treats and toys.
Then, one day this past September, Wall-E found all his possessions bundled into two plastic trash bags. The 6-year-old dog couldn’t understand why he and his things were being driven back to the Arizona shelter, or why his owner was crying as he said goodbye.
All Wall-E knew was that once again he was on his own and heartbroken.
Circumstances had changed in Wall-E’s family’s life, and they could no longer care for Wall-E the way he deserved. “He was surrendered by his family because they did not have enough time for him,” Jordan Bader, who runs a Facebook page for the adoptable dogs of MCACC, told The Dodo. “He was very scared. In his kennel, he would bark and bark.”
The shelter was a far cry from a dog hotel, and Wall-E couldn’t keep his toys and bed in his kennel. He was confused and depressed — far from the comforts of his former life and the people who promised to love him.
When potential adopters walked by his little cage, they couldn’t see past the defensiveness that masked the once happy-go-lucky pup. But shelter staffers knew there was an incredibly sweet dog behind the bars, just waiting for someone to see the real Wall-E.
“Because of his kennel presence and evaluations he was passed up by many people,” Bader said. “[But] with volunteers he was very sweet and playful and loved doing zoomies.”
For two months, Wall-E sat in the crowded shelter, no closer to getting a home than on the day he was surrendered. That’s when Bader had an idea to give the unwanted dog an advantage — by telling his story. And it worked.
“About six volunteers and I run the [Facebook] page and network for the shelter dogs,” Bader explained. “We knew this picture would be heartbreaking and would get a lot of attention, but we had no idea it would blow up like it did. We had so many people interested in him.”
Lynn Lee saw the photo and was so moved that she headed to the shelter to meet Wall-E in person right away.
Lee brought along her own dog, and the pair got along so well that the day after Wall-E’s photo was posted online, he was on his way to his well-deserved forever home.
“They have been amazing,” Bader noted. “Wall-E gets along great with the family, loves dog parks and cuddling.”
Now with his new mom, Wall-E is letting his personality shine — and quickly getting used to his new dog bed.
“He kept licking my face and being really sweet. I just could not let this dog go, so I kept fighting.”
Sherman, a 6-year-old pit bull mix, was having a rough time at home. He lived with another dog who was bullying him.
“They were both unneutered males,” Sarah Lauch, a lead volunteer at Chicagoland Rescue Intervention & Support Program (CRISP), a group that helps owners keep their dogs, told The Dodo. “They were getting into fights pretty bad, and he [Sherman] had some scarring on his face. He was kind of the one getting beat up a lot.”
Instead of neutering the dogs, which would have curbed their bad behavior and helped them get along, the owner took Sherman to a busy city shelter in Chicago and surrendered him.
But that wasn’t the only thing the owner did — she also signed a form, authorizing the shelter to euthanize him that very same day.
Lauch, who was working at the shelter at the time, tried intervening on Sherman’s behalf.
“He at least deserved a chance,” Lauch said. “Unfortunately, because that form was signed, we had to get permission from the head of animal control to basically … give us time to network him. At first, they told us he had to go directly into the back [of the shelter] and that we couldn’t even touch him … and then we talked them into giving us some time to get him into a rescue.”
Margaret Fraser, a volunteer for CRISP, burst into tears when she learned about Sherman’s situation.
“It was surprising because he was such a great dog,” Fraser told The Dodo. “He was comforting me, even though he was the one about to get euthanized. We’d sit down and he’d climb into my lap and lick the tears off my face, and he just kind of knew that I was kind of upset. I just couldn’t believe it.”
“He kept licking my face and being really sweet,” Fraser added. “I just could not let this dog go, so I kept fighting.”
Lauch, Fraser and other CRISP volunteers eventually managed to convince the shelter to keep Sherman alive, and to allow them to place him with a local rescue group. But finding a rescue group wasn’t easy — most were full or didn’t take pit bulls.
While they searched, Sherman had to stay at the shelter — and he quickly declined there.
“He got really sick there,” Fraser said. “We weren’t sure if he had pneumonia or what was going on … but when dogs get really sick, they also run the risk of euthanasia. So he became ‘urgent’ two weeks later.”
Their luck finally changed in early November. A new group called Incredi-Bull Rescue agreed to take Sherman into its care and place him in a foster home.
“We got him out … probably just in time,” Fraser said.
Even Sherman seemed to know how lucky he was. He wagged his tail like mad and covered Fraser’s face with kisses when she took him out of his kennel. Then Fraser and Lauch drove Sherman to his foster home.
“He was so happy,” Lauch said. “You could tell that he knew he was safe.”
Now Sherman is happily settled into his foster home, where he gets to lounge on the couch all day if he wants to.
“He’s definitely pretty lazy,” Lauch said. “He likes to go on walks, but he’s a couch potato.”
His foster mom, Emma Lynch, adores him, and everyone is thrilled by how well everything has worked out.
“I think every dog should get a chance to prove themselves, no matter what their situation is,” Fraser said. “And he’s proved to be the best dog ever. Obviously, he doesn’t know what happened, but I feel that he is happy to be alive.”
“These dogs always amaze us by how resilient they are,” Lauch said. “Just seeing him smile now just makes me so happy.”