Terrified Pup Taken in a Wheelbarrow to Be Pup Down Gets Saved Last-Minute

While the prospect of animal euthanasia is a source of fear for all dog owners, it remains a grim reality for many animals in shelters.

According to a report from the Best Friends Network, Texas maintained its position as the state with the highest number of shelter animals euthanized for the second consecutive year.

Intake rates have surged while adoption rates have declined, resulting in overcrowded shelters. It’s disheartening to witness sick or less desirable dogs being placed on euthanasia lists to make space for others.

Among those facing this fate was Darla, one of the fortunate pups rescued at the eleventh hour. Let’s delve into how her salvation unfolded.

Terrified Darla

Darla, an endearing Golden Retriever, resided at Laredo Animal Care Services, a shelter nestled in Laredo, Texas. The shelter staff affectionately described her as a timid soul who struggled to acclimate to shelter life.

Amidst overcrowding, the shelter faced the heart-wrenching necessity of euthanizing some animals, particularly those with lower adoption prospects. Regrettably, sweet Darla found herself among those slated for euthanasia.

In July 2023, as the shelter staff attempted to escort Darla to the euthanasia room, her fear became palpable. Overwhelmed, her legs gave way, rendering her unable to walk unaided. With compassion, the staff gently lifted her into a wheelbarrow.

Fortuitously, on that fateful day, representatives from Austin Pets Alive!, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing animals from euthanasia, were visiting the shelter. Among them was Clare Callison, the organization’s director of national operations.

Reflecting on the timing, Callison remarked, “I knew it was around the time of day when the shelter does routine euthanasia for opening up kennel space,”

As they traversed the shelter corridors, a sight gripped their hearts—a frightened Golden Retriever nestled in a blue wheelbarrow, destined for euthanasia. It was then they learned of Darla’s plight, sparking a determination to intervene and save her life.

Saved in the Nick of Time

Upon sighting her, they were immediately compelled to rescue her.

“We had to pull her, we had to save her. We hope that she’s able to come out of her shell and be the happy puppy she deserves to be. It’s what every one of the pets in the shelter deserves, and that’s what we’re working so hard for,” Jordana Moerbe, APA!’s national shelter support director, said.

After conversing with shelter staff, Callison discovered that Darla’s shyness was the sole reason for her scheduled euthanasia. Tenderly caressing her head, Callison observed that beyond her timid demeanor, Darla welcomed affection and enjoyed gentle petting.

With the assistance of APA!, Darla underwent a comprehensive veterinary examination, revealing her to be an eight-month-old puppy. APA! coordinated with their partner, Mile High Lab Mission in Denver, Colorado, to find Darla a new home. Shortly after, a foster family eagerly welcomed her into their care.

Discovering Love

Upon meeting her foster family, Darla’s tail began to wag—an action foreign to her during her shelter days. Finally free of fear, she embraced her family’s love.

“She was a completely different dog now.” Callison remarked.

On August 9th, 2023, the Mile High Lab Mission joyfully announced Darla’s adoption. She now resides with a loving family, where she’s cherished endlessly. Here’s to a life brimming with love and boundless joy for her.


Best Friends, Animal Shelter Statistics, accessed on Aug 10, 2023, https://bestfriends.org/
Best Friends, Shelter Crisis, accessed on Aug 10, 2023, https://bestfriends.org/

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