Think about what it would feel like for a dog. You’re driven to a place you don’t know, with all your stuff—bed, toys, blankets. You arrive and hear the sounds and smell hundreds of other dogs. Your owner breaks down into tears … and leaves you with people you don’t know. You’re put in a kennel all alone.
This horrifying scenario is exactly what happened to an Arizona dog named Wall-E in October 2018. Wall-E was brought by his owner, complete with everything that belonged to the dog, and surrendered at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control West shelter in Mesa.
In this case, a picture really was worth a thousand words. The devastating image of Wall-E that the shelter posted on Facebook said everything. “They brought all his stuff… like it was gonna be there with him 2 months later in his kennel ????.”
While MCACC didn’t know all the details of why Wall-E’s owner had left him behind, the staff member who runs their Facebook page, Jordan Bader said, “he was surrendered by his family because they did not have enough time for him.” On the MCACC page, Bader asked people reading the original post not to “bash his previous owners,” as “we don’t believe this decision was taken lightly.”
Unfortunately, MCACC couldn’t keep Wall-E forever because, as their Facebook post explained, “we have to euthanize when we run out of space because legally we HAVE to take every dog that comes to our doors. We are at that point now despite exhausting ALL resources including rescues, transports in state and out of state.” This meant that if Wall-E didn’t get adopted, he would be put down.
But what the shelter didn’t realize was how much people wanted this poor, abandoned dog to make it. Within days, their post had gone viral and people were flooding the shelter with calls about him. Unfortunately, Wall-E’s cruel abandonment had taken its toll on him.
As MCACC said, “Wall-e was very fearful and defensive in play group,” which they had to note down in his file. When potential adopters coming to the shelter saw him, as Jordan Bader said, “he was very scared. In his kennel, he would bark and bark.”
But there was another side to Wall-E that visitors to the shelter didn’t see, which is that he loved interacting with the volunteers from the shelter. When they got him out on the run, he would do “zoomies” running from side to side and jumping for joy. As Bader said, “with volunteers he was very sweet and playful.”
Meanwhile, Wall-E’s sad story went viral, with thousands of shares. “We knew this picture would be heartbreaking and would get a lot of attention, but we had no idea it would blow up like it did. We had so many people interested in him,” Bader said.
Local woman Lynn Lee heard about what had happened to the poor pooch and knew that there was a place for Wall-E in her home. As Lee posted on her Facebook after welcoming Wall-E into her family: “a simple pic and post that has been shared over 23,000 times! The power of social media is amazing ❤”
Now Wall-E is even getting a chance to get some intense training to help him overcome the fear and anxiety he developed after being abandoned and interact better with other dogs. Lynn Lee created a GoFundme campaign to help pay for Wall-E to attend the JD’s Powerhouse K9 Bootcamp in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Wall-E started his training, and on June 18, 2019, JD’s Powerhouse welcomed him to their program. As they posted on their Facebook page, “Walle’s issues with lack of confidence and being fearful leads him to become reactive and naughty on a leash and he’s wary of new people.” Thankfully, though, Wall-E seems to be gradually getting more confident and assertive.
As Lynn Lee asked her donors, “[let’s] show WallE ♥️-HOW MUCH WE LOVE HIM and give him the chance to live up to his potential and handsome good looks.” An incredible turnaround for a dog that was left with nothing and no one!