Whoever said old dogs can’t learn new tricks definitely hasn’t met Chewy, a blue and white pocket pittie with a big personality who received his second chance at life and love here at APA!.
Chewy came to APA! in October of 2016 straight from the streets. His teeth were worn down from eating rocks, his hair was thinning, his joints ached, and a bad heartworm infection left him with damaged lungs and a hacking cough. Add stomach problems and a couple of behavioral quirks to the mix, and Chewy was looking at a long stay in the shelter.
To make matters even more challenging for Chewy, the shelter environment quickly proved to take a toll on him. He suffered from severe anxiety, making it difficult for our volunteers and staff to handle him. One of our wonderful dog volunteers, Diane, saw past his tough-guy facade, though, and stepped up to the Chewy-challenge: “The first day I saw him, he was carrying a good size stuffed animal. I just melted. I needed to meet him.”
It wasn’t long before Diane became Chewy’s virtual foster mom, advocating for his adoption through social media posts and field trips around Austin.
Despite having a wide breadth of street smarts, Chewy was several tough months away from being certified as a TOP Dog. He struggled to sit still on car rides, especially if he had a toy with him, and he was always quick to bust out of his kennel. Training Chewy was a huge undertaking, but Diane didn’t do it alone.
As a long-stay dog, Chewy became a fan favorite around APA!. Diane started using #teamchewy in posts, which grew into a supportive community that wore matching #teamchewy baseball caps and shared Chewy’s story with friends, family, and the world. “#Teamchewy wasn’t only [the people supporting him]. It was a feeling in the air when you talked about Chewy or got to spend time with him. It was a camaraderie that would never be broken,” explains Diane.
The efforts of #teamchewy finally paid off in December 2018, when Caroline Miller took the leap: “I knew I wanted to adopt Chewy from the moment I saw him. He was so much smaller than I thought he would be! He truly was – and is – a little potato of a pit bull.”
Chewy’s long history broke Caroline’s heart, especially because Chewy has so much love to give: “I love his big, silly tongue that lolls out of his mouth when he's running to catch his ball, and his warm, golden eyes that sometimes beg for peanut butter. I love the way his tail wags, and how he lets out happy squeals when I come home,” warmly shares Caroline.
The quirks that once labeled him as difficult turned into reasons to smile. “Chewy is an old man, so he'll snore and make silly noises without meaning to, but he also has the boundless energy of a puppy during playtime! He's great at agility courses, and loves anything to do with tennis balls.” Caroline would never have discovered Chewy’s puppy-dog soul if she hadn’t decided to take a chance on him.
If there’s one thing Caroline wants people to keep in mind about adopting a dog from APA!, it’s this: “Puppies and young, classically beautiful dogs are adopted quickly and easily. They will love and be loved for the rest of their lives. But the old dogs who have gone through more are also good dogs. They are good dogs who deserve love and a home. But these dogs are passed over because they don't look the way people expect their dog to look.”
No one adopted Chewy for three years because of how he appeared on the surface. Now, Caroline says she can’t imagine owning any other dog. When you give to Amplify Austin in support of APA!, you help dogs like Chewy find their Caroline.