Although the mere thought of animal euthanasia terrifies all dog owners, it is a sad reality of many animals who end up in shelters.
According to a report by the Best Friends Network, Texas had the highest number of shelter animals who were put down for the second year in a row. (1)
The intake rates have risen and the adoption rates have declined. (2)
Shelters became overcrowded. It’s heartbreaking to see that dogs who are sick and those who are considered less desirable find themselves on a euthanasia list in order to make room for other dogs.
Darla was one of the pups whose name was on that list. She was one of the lucky ones who got rescued at the last minute. Let’s see how it happened.
Darla, an adorable Golden Retriever, was a resident at Laredo Animal Care Services, a shelter in Laredo, Texas. The shelter employees described her as a very shy pup. She couldn’t get used to life in a shelter.
Due to overcrowding, the shelter made the difficult decision to put some animals to sleep. The pups who had lower chances of getting adopted ended up on the euthanasia list.
Sweet Darla was one of them.
In July 2023, the shelter staff tried to take Darla to a euthanasia room. When she realized where she was going, she got frightened. Her legs failed and she couldn’t walk.
The shelter staff carried her and put her in a wheelbarrow.
That day, members of Austin Pets Alive!, a non-profit organization that saves animals from euthanasia, were visiting the shelter. They came to the shelter to take some dogs with them and save their lives.
Clare Callison, the director of national operations at Austin Pets Alive!, was there that day, too.
“I knew it was around the time of day when the shelter does routine euthanasia for opening up kennel space,” she said.
As they walked down the hallway, a frightened Golden Retriever crouching in a blue wheelbarrow caught their eye. They learned that the scared pup was on her way to be put down.
Rescued At The Last Moment
The moment they saw her, they knew they had to rescue her.
“We had to pull her, we had to save her. We hope that she’s able to come out of her shell and be the happy puppy she deserves to be. It’s what every one of the pets in the shelter deserves, and that’s what we’re working so hard for,” Jordana Moerbe, APA!’s national shelter support director, said.
After talking to the shelter employees, Callison found out that Darla’s shyness was the only reason why she was scheduled to be put down.
Callison tenderly stroked her head, and she noticed that apart from being timid, Darla was open to love and she enjoyed her pets.
The APA! members took her to the vet, and she was given a thorough medical checkup. Darla’s rescuers found out that she was an eight-month-old puppy.
APA! asked their partners, Mile High Lab Mission, in Denver, Colorado, to take Darla in. In a short time, they found her a foster family who couldn’t wait to take her home.
As soon as she met her foster family, Darla wagged her tail… something she never did during her stay at the shelter. Finally, she could let go of her fears and let her family love her.
“She was a completely different dog now.” Callison said.
On August 9th, in 2023, the Mile High Lab Mission shared the happy news that Darla had been adopted. She now lives with a delightful family who loves her with all their heart. We wish her a life filled with love and immense happiness.