The other day, we got our signed and counter-signed copy of the Dude’s official adoption contract back from the rescue. Although his adoption date is officially February 24, seeing that contract — all signed by everyone — really made it feel real in our heads. So we got to thinking — how did we get from here:
We’re not quite sure, but it makes us tear up a little to think about how close he was to the edge.
In a moment of facebook procrastination, I was reading back through the 500+ comments on Doodlebug’s (then “Red”) shelter photo in the Partners of Arlington Animal Services FB page announcing his scheduled euthanasia the following day. I was overwhelmed by how many people had pitched in a little bit of effort to help our boy find home — a few handfuls of monetary pledges to his rescue, several offers to transport him, and some long-distance requests to adopt.
He had only been there two weeks, but it seemed that he earned “favorite” status in his time at the Arlington, TX shelter — by the time our rescue Love-A-Bull agreed to take him, he had already been granted two or three “reprieves” from his schedule euthanasia. Most dogs are not so lucky. But the December 30 date was the last shot. And it turns out our rescue pulled him just in time. What a lucky dude.
But it was more than luck. Partners of Arlington Animal Services is an all-volunteer group dedicated to sharing, re-sharing, and re-re-sharing the photos, stats, and stories of animals on the endangered list at the Arlington, TX shelter. These folks — and a large community around them — work tirelessly to get the word out about dogs and cats in need, and some of these dogs end up winning the lottery — like the Dude.
Via Facebook, the Dude’s photo and rescue plea was shared 400+ times, including one life-saving share — with Love-A-Bull co-founder Lydia. Lydia gets dozens of dogs-in-need shared with her every day, but lucky Dude caught her eye — turns out he looks a whole lot like her love-of-her-life dog, Mocha:
One thing led to another, and the Dude was claimed by Love-A-Bull, overnight fostered by a volunteer, transported by another troupe of generous souls, stopped by our vet’s office to get checked out and fixed, and finally landed in our home three days later — on January 2.
Looking back, I think it’s the sheer volume of activity on Dude’s profile photo from the shelter — more than 500 comments and 400 shares — that is the most astounding to me. I have often been overwhelmed and, frankly, kind of irritated by the amount of energy poured into promoting the sad stories, urgent pleas for help, subtle blame game, and pathetic photos of terrified caged animals that are circulated via facebook as desperate efforts to inspire adoptions. I’ve often thought: sad photos of sad animals don’t work. They don’t inspire adoption or rescue. They only appeal to a small number of people, and those people are already doing everything they can. And in a lot of ways, I still do think that.
So it’s interesting to find ourselves on the opposite side of that equation — if not for the huge and dedicated underground railroad of advocates, shelter workers, volunteers, and facebook activists, Doodlebug would not be sleeping with his butt in my lap and his head on Chick’s hip. He would be dead.
Yes, I still believe that bigger-picture advocacy of adoption and pit bull type dogs in particular, and a strong focus on the positive / happy sides of adoptable animals are the better way forward. But in the meantime, we’re feeling pretty darn thankful for the tireless network that put this ‘Bug in our bed.
Ready to meet your own true love? Check out the adoptable sweethearts from Love-A-Bull!