A mixed-breed dog named Emma is competing at the prestigious Westminster dog show today after being rescued from a kill shelter in South Carolina just hours before she was scheduled to be put down and OH MY GOD LOOK AT HER FACE AM I CRYING YES I AM CRYING.
Sorry. I'll get myself together before I go on.
Emma was found living in an abandoned motel in South Carolina, where she was picked up by an all-kill shelter (which is apparently a thing, a horrible thing that I wish I didn't know existed) and given 48 hours to live. A rescue group sent out an SOS email to its subscribers as a last ditch appeal for the lives of the dogs. And the rest, for lucky Emma at least, is history. From Canada's Globe & Mail,
[New Jerseyan Christy] Wrede saw Emma's photo in an e-mail from the rescue group she volunteers with and decided to take her.
"There was something extra special, some intangible thing," Ms. Wrede said from her home, her voice cracking.
Ms. Wrede, a special-needs teacher, has no professional dog training background, but took it up as a passion, training Emma in agility, and another rescue dog, Logan, who had been deemed dangerous.
Emma took to her training well, and was selected as one of a handful of special mutts that gets to compete in the Westminster Dog Show's agility competition during this, the first year mixed breed dogs are allowed to enter. Look how happy her face is. Oh my god. I'm going to die.
Westminster isn't the only prestigious institution opening its doors to shelter dogs (which, fact: are the best dogs). In 2009, a rescue mutt named Pantera was adopted by the Chicago Police Department and trained to work with officers in the organized crime division as part of a department-wide push to incorporate more rescue dogs into the police force. Other police and fire departments have trained shelter mutts as search and rescue dogs as well as bomb and drug sniffing dogs.
So cheers to Emma, her owner, and other pups who have been given another shot by people who open their doors to shelter animals. Also, I think there's something in my eye.