This puppy had the saddest note with him when he was discovered at the airport.
It’s incredibly sad anytime a domestic animal is abandoned and left to fend for themselves, but the act is even sadder if a variety of circumstances also come into play. The worst is if the animal is injured but another horrible variable is if the owner was forced to give the animal up for whatever reason. This was the case with 3-month-old puppy Chewy, who was found in a bathroom of the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Valley earlier this month.
Airport staff discovered the puppy a few days before the 4th of July; the 3-pound Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix was found in a bag and had a note included that explained what led the puppy to this point.
“Hi! I’m Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight. She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart but she has NO other option,” Chewy’s owner wrote.
“My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy sooo much — please love and take care of him.”
The staff worked to pair him with a local shelter and wound up releasing Chewy to Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue (CMDR) in Las Vegas after founder Linda Gilliam heard his story.
“My heart dropped to my knees,” Gilliam told The Dodo. “I didn’t hesitate to accept him and instructed my foster to immediately get him to an ER.”
Since the shelter was worried about the possible injury that the previous owner mentioned in the note, and because the dog was so young, Gilliam knew that Chewy needed medical attention to rule out anything serious. Thankfully, Chewy did not test for anything major and doesn’t appear to have any other signs of abuse or neglect.
Gilliam posted the note that came with Chewy because she wanted to highlight one of the little known issues that comes with domestic violence: what to do with pets. While victims are consumed with the danger they may be in whenever their partner is around, they are also often concerned for the well-being of their pets. Violent individuals tend to have no regard for animals and will often use them as an instrument to manipulate their victims. This may mean they torture or abuse the animal, sometimes even killing it while the victim watches helplessly in order to maintain control or convince their partner to stay out of fear.
It is amazing that the victim of this abuse was able to escape at all, and it’s understandable that if they had left in a rush then they wouldn’t have time to make arrangements for Chewy. Gilliam wants other victims to know that they have options; in fact, some shelters even have programs where victims can drop off their pets in a secret manner, where they will be held for free under different names and information about their stay will not be released to anyone but the person who dropped them off. This way, victims have time to make it out of their abusive situation and make arrangements for their pets later.
“Our main focus is to draw attention to the plight of domestic violence victims,” said Darlene Blair, the administrative director at CMDR.
“This is a very overlooked issue as a whole,” Gilliam said. “We also wanted to try and get the message to Chewy’s mom that she did a brave thing and that he is safe and will have a great life.”
So far, the shelter hasn’t had any luck in identifying the previous owner, but Chewy has had some great news since he was taken in by CMDR. Once he was put up for adoption, he received over 1,000 applications and the shelter actually had to close the applications because they had too many. Since there is only one Chewy, he can go to only one home, but Gilliam is encouraging the other applicants to look at their local shelters to see if they can open their heart and home to another pet in need.