The internet is a strange and wonderful place. It’s a tool, just like many things, and we can use it productively or destructively. This is a story about one of the ways it can be used very productively.
Wall-E is a Labrador mix. He’s around 5 years old, weighs about 50 pounds, is potty-trained and has some of the saddest puppy eyes the online world has ever seen.
On Nov. 24, the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control posted to their adoptable dogs Facebook page, telling the sad tale of the yellow dog with the Disney name.
The photo shows the pup leaning against the wall, his ears held to the side of his head, wearing a decidedly dejected look on his face. He looks like he knows he’s being given up and it’s broken his heart.
The MCACC “is the 2nd largest intake shelter in the United States,” as they mentioned on their post. They have a lot of dogs coming in, and they do what they can, but they are a kill shelter.
Nobody likes this. It’s an unsavory solution to the overpopulation problem — but there is literally nowhere else for these animals to go. Already overcrowded, the shelter can’t take in more dogs without putting down others, so many people have stepped in to help foster or pay for boarding to give the pups a better chance.
That also means that dogs who get surrendered have a very short window during which to find a new home before their time is up. The clock started ticking for Wall-E as soon as he was surrendered, but staff were adamant about getting his story out, and posted to Facebook.
Many people who saw the post quickly jumped to criticizing the person who surrendered Wall-E — but they judged too soon. In dire straits, many people abandon their pets and throw them out on the street: The owner did not do this.
Some owners (out of sheer determination) will hold onto their dogs past the point when they are able to care for them, and by the time the dogs get help they are malnourished and diseased: The owner did not do this, either.
Wall-E had a nice big bed and a bag of toys and belongings dropped off with him. He’s in good health, is fit and doesn’t look abused — just crushed, as any pet would who lost their home.
The shelter stepped in, too, to tell people to calm down with the judgment. “Please don’t bash his previous owners though,” they wrote. “We don’t know the whole story. What we do know is the owner was heartbroken and crying.”
“It was hard to finally help them leave. The staff was crying with the owners. We don’t believe this decision was taken lightly.”
Is this case heartbreaking? Absolutely. But was this done maliciously, unkindly or with abandon? Absolutely not. Who knows what kind of situation Wall-E’s family must have been in to be forced to give up a pet they clearly loved.
Word spread about the sorrowful pup, and the post was shared over 18,000 times. Many commenters asked for more information and pledged their homes and hearts to Wall-E, but only one person could take him home.
Lynn Lee must have seen the dog and felt the call, too. On Nov. 25 she went to the shelter where he was being held, and walked out with a new best friend.
The adoption photo says it all: Wall-E went from distraught pooch to happy, smiling pup all because of the power of the internet and some really good people. Hopefully his previous owners will see the photo too, and all will be made right.
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