Chucho came to APA! in late July after he was pulled off the euthanasia list from the then city-run Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC). His family of 10 years had been evicted from their home and had no choice but to surrender him to the city shelter. They were absolutely devastated.
Chucho did not do well in the shelter environment and exhibited some behavior that caused him to end up on the euthanasia list. When the shelter called his family to let them know he was at risk, they were still out of a home; as much as it broke their hearts, they weren't yet able to take him back.
The family was certain that Chucho would be euthanized due to his issues in the shelter, and were unaware that a safety net exists for the animals at risk at the city shelter - Austin Pets Alive! Thankfully, APA! had the room and resources in our program at the time to save Chucho. After spending some time at our headquarters, he was sent to a foster home for some TLC and spent the last few months there searching for a home he could call forever.
Chucho's family had gotten back on their feet and found new housing, but they were very much missing their dog, whom they presumed was dead. However, when browsing Craigslist this week, his mother stopped in her tracks when she saw an adoption advertisement for him - it was her Chucho. In a haste, she sent an email to the address listed in the ad and headed down to the new city shelter (Austin Animal Center). When she arrived, she was told that Chucho had not died at the shelter, but been pulled by APA!, a city rescue partner, and was put in touch with our adoption team to learn more. She immediately drove to our headquarters where Chucho and his fosters met her there.
The reunion went better than anyone could have hoped. He was welcomed with open arms, and after a brief re-introduction, Chucho was absolutely ecstatic - his family had come back for him. Even the male adoption counselor that witnessed the joyful reunion had tears in his eyes: Chucho was going home.
Chucho spent his first night with his old family this past Wednesday. On Thursday morning, one of our team members received a tearful call from his mom. She was filled with overwhelming gratitude, and just wanted to call to thank us for saving her dog when she thought all hope had been lost.
We've saved the lives of more than 5,000 animals this year alone, but stories like this never cease to amaze us. Heartwarming reunions that some thought would never happen. Or perhaps at this time of year, we might be so bold to call this a holiday miracle.