When one family planned a big vacation, they decided not to take their dog of six years with them. But rather than leave her with family or source a pet sitter, they decided to dump her at a high-kill shelter. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they took a new dog away with them instead.
Toots the dog did not have an easy start in life. But after finding a forever family who rescued her in Hawaii, the canine must have thought that her dark days were behind her. However, after six presumably happy years with her owners, they did something some might say is unforgivable.
In 2017, Toots’ family decided that they wanted to take a long vacation. However, they had no desire to take their beagle with them. As a result, they took the devastated doggie to San Bernardino City Animal Shelter, where they swiftly abandoned her.
That shelter in particular was not a great place for any dog to wind up. Due to pet overpopulation in San Bernardino, California (and many other cities in America), the facility has a high kill-rate. That means that any animal left on the shelter’s shelves for too long is likely to face euthanasia.
As a result, you’d like to think that the animals that ended up at the shelter were there as a complete last resort – not because their owners decided that they interfered with their vacation plans. But sadly for Toots, that was her reality.
And that wasn’t the end of Toots’ ordeal. Even though her owners didn’t want her to tag along on their vacation, they decided they would like some canine company. So, after dumping the beagle at the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter, they adopted another dog from the very same facility.
So, needless to say, after finding herself in the strange environment of the shelter, with none of her loved ones there to comfort her, Toots was frightened. But, luckily for her, she was not completely alone.
Animal rescuer Andrea Neyses was at the shelter to witness Toots’ entire plight. And frankly, she was sickened by what she had seen. Writing on her Facebook page in 2017, Neyses scathed, “Today I saw the most selfish of humans!”
Continuing her update, Neyses marveled at how anyone could give up their pet of six years and take a new one, all in the same breath. “Who can look in her face and know [you’re] their whole world and still walk away?” she wondered.
And Neyses wasn’t the only one left outraged by Toots’ situation. After posting about the abandoned dog on her Facebook page, Neyses’ update attracted over 1,800 reactions. Furthermore, it clocked up more than 1,000 comments from a number of infuriated individuals.
Writing about Toots and addressing the dogs’ former owners, one social media user said, “You never deserved to have her. Thank God she was picked up! Pets are forever family members just like kids. You don’t just give them up to go enjoy yourself on vacation. I hope it rains the whole time.”
Another person added, “Toots is better off! Thank you for rescuing this sweet soul. I feel horrible for the dog they adopted, he/she will never know true love with this family, and more than likely will be dumped in a shelter one day.”
Neyses was so moved by Toots’ situation that she wasted no time in coming to her rescue. “Toots is so very scared but grateful she didn’t sleep at [the] shelter one night,” she revealed. Instead, she was taken in by Chiquita’s Friends Rescue.
Located in Malibu, CA, Chiquita’s Friends Rescue has operated as a pet service since 2011. The organization was founded by Geraldine Gilliland, who has taken in rescue dogs at her home, Rancho Chiquita, for a number of years.
Chiquita’s Friends supports other welfare organizations in the hope of preventing animal cruelty from occurring in the future. According to its Facebook page, the agency strives to “give hope to the forgotten, rejected and neglected.” So, Toots had found herself in the best possible hands.
From there, Toots was advertised for adoption on the Chiquita’s Friends website. Judging by the interest in her online, it wouldn’t take long for the beagle to find her perfect forever home. However, it’s not clear what became of Toots after her rescue.
Sadly though, she was not the first and will not be the last dog to be abandoned by its owners. In fact, Toots was just one of 3.3 million dogs who enter U.S. animal shelters each year. Of them, it’s not known how many are given up by their families.
According to data compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “pet problems” is the most commonly cited reason people give for abandoning their animals. Such issues can include aggression and other behavioural issues, health difficulties and even growing too large.
Sadly, in some parts of the U.S. there are more animals in shelters than there are families to take them. As a result, 1.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized at such establishments each year. So, all things considered, Toots had a lucky escape.
But in order to save more animals from needlessly dying in the future, the key is promoting responsible ownership. Taking on a dog, or any animal for that matter, is a lifetime commitment that can be hard at times. However, for the love owners receive in return, it’s totally worth it.