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Twice Euthanized Puppy Survives
Once unwanted, now hundreds clamor to adopt Wall-e
shelter dog mixed breed adoption euthanasia rescue social media
Wall-e survived two euthanasia attempts and his remarkable story attracted hundreds of offers to adopt him.

I keep telling myself this is supposed to be a feel-good story. An animal control officer found a stray puppy. No one claimed him. No one wanted him. The shelter was full. Somehow, the puppy survived two euthanasia injections. When his incredible story was posted to a pet adoption website, he got a name (Wall-e), donations toward boarding and hundreds of offers to foster or adopt him.

 
Wall-e beat the odds. What about all the other stray mixed breed puppies who are not so fortunate? If hundreds of people could be so easily moved to adopt Wall-e, how do we motivate them to adopt that unwanted puppy at their local animal control?
 
Last year, I posted a shelter dog in need on my Facebook page. She had puppies and they were in danger of being euthanized, too, simply due to lack of space at the shelter. One of my friends was horrified at the thought. “They don’t kill puppies,” she wrote.
 
They do. And before animal lovers start to vilify shelters or their staff, let’s think about the people whose job involves euthanizing unwanted cats and dogs. In reading Wall-e’s story, I was surprised to see the name of the animal control officer whose initial attempts to euthanize him failed. Even though it was a part of his job and he then spread the word about Wall-e’s remarkable survival to a community of potential adopters, the public will likely never see him as a hero.
 
I will never forget my friend telling me how it felt to euthanize a perfectly healthy kitten when she was on staff at a shelter. Normally, it was not part of her job. She was an “intake counselor.” The person who heard the most ridiculous excuses and sometimes tragic stories as the owner handed their cat or dog off to her behind the counter.
 
She was asked to help with this kitten because a staff veterinarian had stayed late and no one else was available to assist. In that split second, she almost told her no, toying with the idea of adopting her. But she couldn’t, for reasons with which we’re all familiar: our houses are full, too.
 

If Facebook or Twitter had existed back then, and my friend had posted that kitten to her page, would she still be alive today? It's hard to say, because that kitten, and puppies like Wall-e, end up at shelters by the thousands every year. Are there really not enough homes for them all? Or are there thousands of untapped potential adopters who simply don't know that an unwanted cat or dog needs them?

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Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

SpotOnK9Sports.com

Photo: Marcia Machtiger

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Submitted by Tiffani | March 5 2011 |

If anything good comes of this it will be that people who were ignorant to what goes on in a shelter will be enlightened. Hopefully, this will spur adoptions all around. I am a crossposter on Facebook. I spend alot of time everyday sharing posts of animals in shelters that only have 24-48 hours left. Yes, alot of them are puppies and alot of them are pure breeds. It is a sad harsh reality. I like to think my time and effort makes a difference for some.

Submitted by D.W. | March 5 2011 |

All of our pups were shelter dogs and on death row..one of them was a puppy...he was 8 weeks old when we got him..another the owners decided the pup was a handful and were going to take her to be killed at the local shelter..lucky for us someone asked us if we could help find her a home. Another one we got was adopted and returned several times when we adopted him we were told if we decided we didn't want him we were to bring him back to them and they would deem him un-adoptable and KILL HIM IMMEDIATELY...I am happy to say ALL four of your death row babies are happy in their forever homes where they are spoiled and loved like crazy...

Submitted by corgiwish | March 5 2011 |

As a former Shelter Operations Chairman, I can say that Euthansia is AWAYS a DIFFICULT decision, and an even more DIFFICULT job. However until those of us who work with rescue or shelters can find an effective way to erradicate commercial, unethical, and "backyard breeders", it is a realism we must deal with daily.

Submitted by Carolyn | March 6 2011 |

It's a crying shame -- and I mean that literally -- that this puppy had to survive lethal injection to attract adopters and find a home.

Submitted by Frances | March 6 2011 |

I have felt this way so often, when a story on television or in a newspaper about a homeless cat or dog will tug at hearts, and have dozens of people offering homes. Perhaps some of them do go on to adopt other animals needing love ... perhaps it is just that particular story that moves them ... perhaps they simply do not have the right sort of home - shelters will know better than I do whether this sort of publicity is valuable in homing more animals. But if it is, then a regular slot for dog and cat of the day, with follow up stories, would seem like a sure fire winner for local television news. Are any stations doing it yet?

Submitted by Carrie | March 7 2011 |

this is truly heartbreaking. there are so many amazing pets out there sitting in crowded shelters, many waiting to be put down. and for what!? these animals deserve the same rights as we people i believe. why are people paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get that new trendy breed when they could adopt the most amazing wonderful deserving pet at their local shelter for a fraction of the cost!
frankly it disgusts and saddens me.

Submitted by Eliya | March 17 2011 |

the power of the internet is incredible. stories can become viral in minutes, and solutions can be reached or obtained faster than ever. there needs to be an organization aimed solely at finding homes for animals on the euthanization list, an organization that harnesses the incredible power of the internet. running solely online, this organization would never "run out of space" like shelters do. with a simple commitment from shelters to inform the organization as early as possible (a week, two weeks) of a planned euthanization, the organization could disperse online the images and stories of innocent animals who do not deserve to die, and save their lives.

Submitted by Lynda | March 18 2011 |

What I don't understand from the original article. He found the dog on Friday near the shelter and tried to kill it with lethal injection on Friday. Didn't he even try to ascertain if this dog might have had an owner somewhere first?

Submitted by Anonymous | April 6 2011 |

Yeah seriously! WHat if that was my dog out there?

Submitted by Anonymous | January 2 2012 |

I read that it was entire litter of puppies and they were sick. Many county animal controls do not have the resources to take care of either sick animals or young puppies and it IS more humane to euthanize.

This article prompted me to donate to my local spay/neuter program and to the local TNR program for cats.

Thank you for a well-written article.

Submitted by JMC | January 5 2012 |

When I saw this photo I cried becasue Wall-e looks Exactly' like the dog my grandfather got for me when I was eight- a Shelter dog from New Jersey- Spot lived to be 16 and died about 20 years ago- but that face and spot pattern- it touched me in a deep place-

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