The Paws PR team believes that pet adoption is the only option when thinking about adding a four-legged friend to the family. It is estimated that 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized.
We’ve asked our friend Jenny to tell her story of Ernie, a 10-year-old Chihuahua found close to death on a New York City street.
In 2004, I worked at an animal welfare organization handling inquiries from the public about various pet related issues. I went to my office on a Saturday to catch up on some projects and although I typically never answered the phone on the weekends, when it rang that day I picked it up.
A woman was crying and telling me there was a pit bull puppy dying in the street about two miles uptown. I jumped in a cab. When I arrived, I found a filthy, hairless Chihuahua (not a pit bull puppy!) having seizures.
I bundled him into a towel and jumped in another cab to an animal hospital. The dog couldn’t move much, but as we drove to the veterinarian, he licked my nose and stole my heart.
“Ernie” had numerous issues. A muscular problem that caused him to shake constantly, two sets of teeth, dental disease, mange, ringworm, and an ear infection. After a few weeks in the hospital he was doing much better and I took him home.
Picking up that phone on a Saturday was one of the best things I have ever done – Ernie is an amazing dog. He is sweet, affectionate, playful and has an enthusiasm for life that was apparent even as he lay close to death.
Ernie likes to care for newborn foster kittens and puppies. He grooms them and acts as a heating pad. He is happiest when snuggling under blankets on someone’s lap.
Whenever I tell people I found a Chihuahua like Ernie in the street they are shocked. I use his story as a springboard to discuss how all kinds of wonderful animals can be found in rescue groups or shelters, and how buying or breeding animals only adds to the huge problem of homeless animals in need.