With 30 contestants and thousands of votes, it was a tight race for Rescued Pet Idol 2010, but there was a clear winner and a surprise tie for third. Our contributing writer Tina Chadwick sat down with each of the winners for exclusive interviews – with a little translation help from their owners.
Official name: Sparky
Breed: Schnauzer (Terrier mix)
Age: 4 years
Owners: Chip Allen/Chris Kinghan
Nicknames: The Wonder Dog, The Miracle Dog
Sleeping arrangements: I have my own big, giant bed but would much rather sleep with my owner so I crawl up there in the mornings.
Favorite scratching place: Behind the ears….I lay back and my eyes roll back. If they stop, I have learned to bark to say, “You’re not finished!”
How you got your owners: It’s really a long, horrible story. Even when I tell it now I can’t believe I went through it but here are the scars to prove it. There’s no gentle way to get into this story so here it goes. I was tied and dragged behind a truck by an awful man. He accelerated until I lost my footing and hit the pavement knocking out a tooth. He then continued to drag me across a bridge. There was a trail of blood from where my skin was rubbed off and the pads and nails of my feet were gone as well. Many cars swerved and honked to where he finally stopped and I wrenched my head free, crawled to the side of the road and collapsed. I was taken to Paces Ferry Veterinary Clinic and they were going to put me to sleep but Dr. Merrit decided to not give up on me. They nursed me back to health with donations from so many nice people and eventually, I was well enough to go to the good humans over at Atlanta Pet Rescue. It took months and months of healing but I finally got back on my feet, literally, and was adopted by a fantastic human named, Chip. I also have a great brother named Rocky and a sort of second dad named Chris. It all seems like such a long, long time ago and, ironically, I like to ride in trucks but wedged in between the door and the front seat. I am so grateful for my life now and for everyone who did not give up on me. It’s a miracle I made it through that experience and it just goes to show you the power of love.
Advice for dealing with owners: Give humans unconditional love but use the perception you have to keep safe—if person isn’t nice, run.
Official name: Minnie Me
Breed: Min Pin
Owners: Jim Powell & Richard Funderburke
Nicknames: Poop, Min
Sleeping arrangements: Full run of bed (I own the house, really)
Favorite scratching place: Chest and belly—my head tilts and I hold my paws up
How you got your owners: Well, it’s hard for me to talk about that part of my life but I guess it turned out all right now. I was born into a puppy mill in North Georgia. The living conditions were awful…a lot of my friends and family didn’t make it out. One day there was a rescue mission and I was taken to the Atlanta Humane Society. I was there for about 3 weeks and for kicks, I checked my views on the website. I couldn’t believe it. Somebody had been watching me for a few weeks. When they finally came to meet me, I wasn’t going to just roll over and beg but I did want out. They brought a dog they already owned and she gave me the nod that they were good humans. I was still a bit leery but in a moment of weakness, I licked the human’s hand. We locked eyes and I thought I felt something inside me thaw out…release…I don’t know.
I hardly think about all that now. I’ve got a great life. I’ve got a backyard full of squirrels, a house overflowing with toys and a TV I can watch whenever I want. When my Dad is home, I sit on the back of his chair and look at the neighbors. When I want a treat, I hypnotize him with my big brown eyes and that always gets me cheese and bologna. Yeah, I’ve got it pretty good now.
Advice for dealing with owners: Always act like you like your owner whether you do or not.
Official name: Sophie Sugarman Lowden (Sophie)
Owners: Scott and Wendy Lowden
Nicknames: Shmopher, Furball, Little Dove
Sleeping arrangements: Smack in middle of the bed, as many pillows as possible, flat on my back, legs spread eagle
Favorite scratching place: Belly, of course
How you got your owners: (from Sophie—in a French accent) I was on the run, I can’t really say from what, but I was running as fast as I could down DeKalb Ave. Right when I thought it was over for me, a human swooped me up and saved me from the streets. That human already had three dogs who were not happy about making it four so I was brought into something called an “office” where humans do “work”. One of the people in charge of this office said they would put me up for the night. It was a very hip photography studio – kinda of a work/live space. Problem is, there were 3 cats already there – Sweetie Pie, Ruby, Mr. Daisy – and when you’re my size, you gotta show no fear around the cat crowd. I had to play this cool so I walked in and just laid right down. In an instant, I had won with the cats. As for the humans, they are much easier to win over. One night is all I needed. I was cute. I was small. I needed help. By the next morning, I knew it was settled. Although the humans were still telling themselves they had to “try it out” for another night, I started making myself right at home…because that’s where I was. Finally.
Advice for dealing with owners: You get back what you give. Give love, get love, be a friend, get a friend. (except with the cats – just ignore them)
Official name: Molly
Breed: Cairn Terrier/Fox Terrier
Age: 3 years
Owners: Nicci Kirby & Chad Mercer
Nicknames: Molly-bear, MB, Muppet
Sleeping arrangements: Anywhere I want to sleep, usually with my head between both my owner’s pillows.
Favorite scratching place: Belly – my head tilts if it’s around ears, IF you find perfect spot, my leg will get going.
How you got your owners: You would not look at me and think I could be involved with dog fighting but that is how my story starts. I was a bait dog used to get the fighter dogs revved up before a real match. There was a raid on my ring’s camp and a lot of us were rescued and nursed back to health. I landed with a rescue crew that traveled with horse shows I hopes that the animal lovers there would see us and take us in. A very, very sweet human walked by our crate and I turned on the charm. She already had a 10-year old dog at home and someone called, “Chad” who didn’t seem to want me. Well, I knew what I had to do when I met them. With the dog, Emma, I was shy and let her know I would fit right in with no trouble. Now, mind you, I’m no push over with where I’ve been and all but I wanted her to know I can be really nice. With Chad, he had rules. No dogs on furniture, no licking, no jumping and all that. So, when I met him, I jumped right up on the back of his chair, licked his face and it was all over from there. I know it’s breaking the dog code to talk about this but I used the old trick of hypnotizing him with my eyes. It usually works with the hard to crack ones. I actually really liked him too and consider him my dad even though, well, we’re cross-species. I’m part of the family now and I do hate it when my parents go away. I stay in the window so I can see them right when they drive up. I also do that so I can tell Emma to hurry up and turn the TV off – we watch it when they’re not home.
Advice for dealing with owners: Don’t take no for an answer. Never, ever give up. One bone is never enough. Perfect your “look” to get what you want.
Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.
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