Someone just dropped him off with his doggy bed — and now he needs a forever family.
It’s not so much the text messages about sad, abandoned animals that Noni Boen Schirm gets every day. But the pictures.
Often they’re of cats and dogs peering out of a kennel. She’ll be shocked by the sudden, dramatic change in their lives. They’re frequently sick. Or too young to be alone.
And Noni, who works with several rescue organizations in the San Bernardino, California, area, can’t say no to any of them.
She gets alerts from the shelter about animals in desperate need – mostly pets abandoned too young or needing critical care.
“Whenever I get texts,” she tells The Dodo, “I go to the shelter and grab them all.”
She’s on the front line of caring for these desperate animals until they can find a foster home.
But the picture Noni received on Tuesday morning differed from so many that came before. Sunny didn’t look like a typical shelter dog, and the 7-week-old Chihuahua was still wearing the navy sweater his former owner had knit for him.
He even arrived at the San Bernardino shelter with his doggy bed.
It seemed whoever surrendered Sunny had loved him a lot, even for the briefest moment.
And the tiny dog, suddenly alone at a bustling shelter, clung to every last stitch of the love he once knew.
Until Noni arrived at the shelter on Tuesday morning – and gave him something more lasting to cling to.
“He was scared,” she says. “But once he gets to know you, he’s playful.”
Within half an hour, Noni had found Sunny a foster home – one that had the option to adopt him.
“He went straight to my friend’s house after I picked him up,” she says.
In the end
And, even if his foster family doesn’t end up adopting him, Sunny’s days of clinging to an old sweater for comfort are already behind him.
Because for the rest of his life, he’ll be wrapped up in a lasting security blanket – the warmth of family.
As for Noni, her phone will keep buzzing more pleas for help. And she will always pick up.
Once, she even took in four cottontail bunnies just a week old, and Noni bottle-fed them until they were strong enough to be returned to the wild. And again, she cared for 56 kittens – just days old – at once.
“Usually, people say they find the fur babies somewhere,” she adds. “Even though we know it’s theirs, they just don’t want to pay the fee.”
In the end, it’s often Noni who pays the bill. With compassion.