Red, our September cover dog, is more than just a pretty face—he’s a survivor, too.
Most of us understand the risks involved when protecting a loved one, but our animals assume these risks without consideration; they protect us purely out of devotion. That was the case when Red, a Pit Bull Terrier, was shot in the back trying to protect his elderly caregiver during a home invasion in 2009. He was five years old.
Chicago Police officer Brian Cicio contacted Animal Care and Control and Red was brought to the city pound while his human was taken to the hospital.
Red lost the use of his hind legs as a result of the injury, and his former guardian was no longer able to care for him—the ACC had decided that euthanasia was the most humane option. Fate stepped in though, and a PAWS Chicago team member making a daily visit to the ACC to transport pets for adoption noticed Red and knew he deserved a second chance.
He was an instant favorite among the staff, visitors, and volunteers at PAWS. He received medical care from PAWS chief veterinarian Dr. Jessica Von Waldeu, and was eventually placed in the adoption program.
For two and a half years, Red waited patiently for his forever family to find him. Despite his disability and the seemingly hopeless length of time spent in the shelter, he never lost his incredible charm or his desire to love and trust. Red’s patience paid off earlier this year when the Schaibles from Stockton, Illinois welcomed him into their family.
Red quickly settled into his new home, and the Schaibles officially adopted him in April 2012. His new family includes a rambunctious toddler and a six-year-old Beagle named Razor. Red and Razor became fast friends—they love going on walks together and cuddling up at home. Red’s new mom, Dawn Schaible, says she decided to adopt him because “all animals deserve to have a good home.”
Although delighted to see him go home with a family, the staff at PAWS will always have a soft spot for Red. “More than any other animal, Red personifies PAWS Chicago’s mission,” says adoption counselor Laurie Gentle. “We took in the neediest dog, nurtured him to great mental and physical health, and kept our promise to find his forever home. His resilience is epic. His adaptability is Nobel-worthy. We can all take a real lesson in dealing with adversity.”
Animal rescue is a frustrating field, wrought with disappointments and unfair circumstances. Red’s story is a great reminder to all of us that the fight is worth it.
Images: Sebastian Sparenga