Everyone loves the story of rescue dogs. They’re the definition of underdogs. Most often oppressed and abused before being saved by a wonderful organization. For non-dog owners, these saved pooches’ new lives can sometimes be characterized by their owners mentioning that “She’s a rescue.” If you have never been around a rescue, this can be taken as something that’s just trendy or current- “rescuing” a dog. I want to take the time to stress how important these new lives are for dogs given a second chance, especially with Wags & Walks’ Strut Your Mutt 2016 event coming up!

Doggie Bliss has a great relationship with Wags & Walks and we are very proud to partner with such an outstanding program. I recently met a dog in a Wags & Walks foster home: Sonny. When I first met Sonny, I met one of the biggest pit bulls I’ve ever seen. His head is massive, and his stance is wide. But his eyes are the warmest brown, and once he is comfortable, he can’t wait to cover you in kisses. I understand the stigma of pit bulls. From first glance, they are scary looking. But Sonny is so pretty. His fur is such a perfect gray, and he has a well-placed white patch on his chest. His body is muscular and stocky, all the way to his pointy ears. Unfortunately, he also has marks where his fur is still growing in on his back.

Sonny has an obvious past of abuse. His temperament and body say it all. I didn’t have to ask him what happened. It wouldn’t have been polite.

Our walk was an interesting one. Sonny had plenty to pee on and sniff. At one point I got down low to take a picture of him, and just my slow movement of moving down startled him. He jumped back and looked at me, but he immediately realized that everything was okay. The most interesting thing about the walk though was not how Sonny saw the world, but how the world saw Sonny.

We passed by quite a few people on our walk. A lot of mom’s out for the evening, pushing strollers. I completely understand the instinct of a mother protecting their child, but I was still surprised to see how many strollers made wide arcs around Sonny and me, already giving plenty of room. What was more surprising was the looks Sonny and I got. Even when I greeted everyone with a smile and an “Evening,” Sonny still got a stern look at.

I felt sad for Sonny. No one was giving him a chance, and he was just walking down the street with a big smile on his face. He had no idea that he was getting judged at first sight.

We turned a corner at one point and I saw trouble. An old woman walking an even older looking pug. The pug made eye contact with me… then Sonny. The little gray pug started barking ferociously. I could only imagine what the old woman had to say. I pulled Sonny close and was prepared to walk across the street to avoid a conflict. I braced for impact.

“Oh, my goodness. What a beautiful dog.”

Not the words I was expecting. The old woman put her hands to her mouth. She was actually shocked at how handsome Sonny was. The little pug greeted Sonny in the usually doggie way and Sonny greeted him right back. The old woman got as low as her back allowed her and let Sonny cover her hand in kisses. Sonny liked her a lot.

“He is so handsome. What is his name?” “Sonny.”

She flowered him in compliments and scratches. She told me her little pug was a rescue. She found her on the streets of Las Vegas. She asked around, but no one knew who her owner was so, she took the pug home. She named the pug Fin, “end” in French (too poetic to believe, I know). Now, Fin is twelve and has cancer. She’s just letting Fin enjoy the last of her time on Earth.

Sonny and I walked away, with a huge smile on Sonny’s face and even bigger one on mine.

A home for a dog can be found anywhere, but that means someone has to be looking. There isn’t always a kind old woman looking out for all dogs. But for all of the judging eyes, there are many caring eyes, like at Wags and Walks. And that eye has to be looking at a dog’s heart and personality.

I’m glad that Sonny has the potential for a great future in a forever home. Wags and Walks will find him the perfect home, where eyes won’t judge him at a first glance. Thought and care will go into making sure that his next home is his final home. He’s so handsome that he won’t have any trouble. I’m sure of it.

You can help out Wags & Walks with their upcoming event, Strut Your Mutt, on October 22nd at Exposition Park! You can donate your time or funds at the link below!