So my dog is internet famous.
About a month ago I was driving to the store to pick up some chips and soda to take to a friend’s house. What I got instead was Stella. She’s a pit bull. At the time, she was a half-starved, terrified dog that was covered in fleas, worms, and cuts. Oh, and she also had conjunctivitis.
I can’t say exactly what her life was like before I came along, but I have a pretty good idea.
When I found her, she was skittering alongside the road trying to hide in a ditch. I slowly pulled the car over, took a few steps towards her, and beckoned. She promptly crouched down, started to shake in fear, and urinated.
But her tail was wagging ever so slightly.
She seemed caught between desperately wanting attention and fearing what might happen if she actually got it. After a little bit of time, and a lot bit of coaxing, she eventually approached me. We made friends for a bit, she sniffed around my shoes, I managed to get her into the car, and that, it would seem, was that.
Except, of course, the story doesn’t really end when the dog finds a happy home.
Stella, it seems, had never been inside a house before. Of course, I don’t know this for certain, but it seems rather likely, based on the way that she barked at herself in the TV, barked at herself in the mirror, barked at herself in the stove…yeah, she pretty much barked at anything shiny (and generally failed to interact with normal, everyday objects in a way that normal everyday dogs do).
But she was slowly starting to figure things out. Things were going great. Then the pineapple happened.
A few days ago, I returned home from the store with groceries in one hand and my laptop and car keys in the other. As if that wasn’t enough to try and maneuver, I had two super excited dogs bouncing about trying to get my attention.
And in case you aren’t already aware, trying to unpack groceries with a pit bull (Stella) glued to your side and a miniature pinscher (Guinness) wobbling about underfoot isn’t a terribly good life choice. So I sent the dogs to play outside while I took care of everything.
I let them back in once I was finished, and I settled in on the couch to get some work done. It wasn’t too long before I heard Stella barking, which is something that she never does unless she wants attention. I got up to see what she was barking at, only to discover her staring fixedly at the counter and barking at (seemingly) nothing. I thought that she might be barking at a fly, or maybe a treat. Anyways, it looked kind of funny. So I grabbed my camera and, well, you can see what happened from there…
Usually, when Stella is scared of something, I crouch down with whatever the item is and show it to her. She waddles over tentatively, gives it a sniff or two, and then goes on her merry way. For some reason, this didn’t work with the pineapple. Apparently, pineapples are all the horribleness.
Once it became apparent that she was going to bark until the pineapple met its demise, I turned off the camera so that I could help her deal with her utter (and totally absurd) terror. I had to call Guinness over and let him sniff the pineapple before Stella would even go near it. Guinness, if you are wondering, is 18 pounds. Stella is about 50.
I sat by the pineapple petting Guinness for a bit, and eventually Stella got jealous enough to overcome her fear.
Just like she did the first night that I met her, she tentatively approached, hoping that it was okay. And it was.
Currently, it has more than 300,000 views on Youtube and another 360,000 on Yahoo. Now I know that this isn’t an unfathomable number of views, some wouldn’t even really call it viral. But I think it’s enough to say that my dog is internet famous.
And honestly, I am kind of surprised. I mean, yes, it’s amusing. But what I find most amusing is that, a month ago, she was wandering the streets, covered in cuts, uninating on herself when someone approached her. Now, she is quietly sleeping on the couch, snuggling her chew toy, completely oblivious to her fame. So this video resonates with me on a much deeper level.
Because the story doesn’t end when a dog finds a good home.
Ultimately, that night I found Stella, she wasn’t alone. Not really. There are a million more animals out there who still need someone. In fact, there’s more than a million. About 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 11 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year.
Please, take a moment to let that sink in. By the time you finish reading this sentence, another lonely animal will have passed from this world because she couldn’t find a home. Consider how many we lost in the time that it took you to read this article.
Now it’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States, but estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
So I’d like to leave you with this simple point. If you liked this video, then please take some meaning from it. Because this matters. Get your pet spayed or neutered. Stop breeding. Hell, take that message from this even if you didn’t like the video.
*Please feel free to take this post and reuse it or share it on your own blogs/websites/social media.