Every dog that enters a shelter deserves a second chance, but sadly things don’t always work out like that.

Newsweek recently reported on a 2-year-old bull breed mix known affectionately as Steven Tyler, who had an unusual way of catching people’s eye in the animal shelter he lived in.

“Every day when I passed his habitat, he would have his little chin resting on the window sill as he patiently watched the world go by,” Luna Anona, public information officer for Sacramento County Bradshaw Animal Shelter, told Newsweek. “If he wasn’t at the window, then he was cuddling with his kennel mate. With a face like that, I couldn’t believe he had been at our shelter for two months waiting for a home, but it’s a difficult time in the animal welfare world right now and adoptions have been very slow.

“I thought, if everyone could see what I’m seeing right now, somebody will surely come give this dog a happily ever after.”

Rescue Dog
Steven Tyler, now called Donner, had an unusual way of greeting people that came to meet him in the shelter. His quirkiness paid off and now he’s been adopted by the Zecca family.
Luna Anona, County Bradshaw Animal Shelter

Each year, 6.3 million pets are surrendered to U.S. shelters, which is an average of 17,260 a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The number of dogs and cats taken in by pet shelters hit 46,807 during January 2023, an increase of 1,744 compared with January 2022, the 24Pet ‘Shelter Watch Report’ found.

Around 920,000 surrendered animals are euthanized every year. Shelters are striving to minimize euthanasia rates by promoting adoption campaigns, spaying and neutering programs, and behavior rehabilitation.

Newsweek received numerous emails about adopting Steve Tyler in response to our previous story, and we can reveal that he has now been adopted.

“People often feel powerless when they see pets in animal shelters if they aren’t in a place to adopt, but they don’t realize how many pets they can help just by sharing a photo, a video, or a story,” said Anona. “In three days, his video received 1.6 million views and 10,225 shares across Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

“If every adoptable pet was able to get that kind of publicity, we wouldn’t have homeless pets anymore. I encourage every animal lover to take a moment and follow your local animal shelters and 501c3 rescues on social media and share their adoptable pets as often as you can. It could help save a life.”

Anona revealed that Steven Tyler was adopted by the Zecca family, and has a new cuddle buddy at home, a pup name Tahoe who the family rescued last year.

“Many commenters were concerned about his kennel mate being left behind, but we have good news there too: she was also adopted by a different family over the weekend!” said Anona.

Steven Tyler has since been renamed Donner by the Zecca family.

“When we saw Donner (Steven Tyler)’s video, we knew we had to have him and we knew he would be a good fit for our dog Tahoe—the whole family was on board right away, especially our 5-year-old daughter Ariella,” Chelsea Zecca said. “The meet and greet went great. My husband Massi got there first. He called me and said that Donner was a sweetheart and I needed to get there fast! When I got there with the kids, Donner and Ariella clicked right away. They started running and playing, and that’s when I knew he was right for us.”

It’s been a smooth transition adding a second pup to their household. “Donner and Tahoe became instant friends. Donner made himself right at home and it feels like he has been here for a long time,” she added.

Adopting their pets is important to the Zecca family. “We have always been big on adopting,” she said. “Shelters do amazing work matching dogs with their forever homes. I feel that every dog bought from a breeder is a shelter dog who misses out on a second chance.”

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.


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