Every day here at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control the mission is the same…find as many furry friends a home as we can.  As the Public Information Officer, I try and find something unique in their cases that will make them appeal to the masses.  Two stories that touched me the most helped me celebrate Christmas in July.

Contributed by: Jose Santiago, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control



To call Chucky a lovebug may be a HUGE understatement!  This senior guy would spend his days in one of the life rooms at the front of the shelter.  The room’s name was appropriately named for Chucky because he has a lot of life!  Every time I walked past him he would flash his “puppy” smile and let out a big loud bark all while wiggling so hard you would think his “old man” hips wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Despite his large size and hard exterior and senior age, Chucky was a loveable pup!

I started making it a point to stop by Chucky’s room daily, even if it was for a quick “hello” or maybe a scratch behind the ears.  Chucky loved those moments.  The gentle giant would then go back in to his room and wait until the next person came by to pay him some attention.  Every time I would see someone looking at him from behind the glass I would stop and encourage them into considering taking him home.  Each time the response was the same, “I don’t know, he is just so big and old.”  Poor Chucky would continue to sit there with no one to go home with.

One day all of that changed.  I was passing through and a woman was lingering by herself.  I stopped and asked if she needed help and much to my surprise she was there to see Chucky!  Immediately my eyes welled up with tears as I rushed to find a leash to use for him and get him out to the play yard with his  new Guardian Angel.  After a few minutes outside it was clear Chucky had a new mommy.  You would have thought I won the lottery.  I told anyone who would listen Chucky was going home.  The only feeling that was better was when Chucky’s mom sent me pics of his new life.  In the pictures was Chucky curled up like a lap dog under the desk in her home office.  Another picture showed Chucky whooping it up in his own private pool, followed by him lounging poolside in his new Scottsdale home.  Not only did Chucky have a home but he would spend the remainder of his senior years literally living in the “lap of luxury.”


Another real life fairytale was that of Princess Elsa.  Elsa came to us as a “no-name” stray that someone found.  Elsa was placed into a kennel but quickly started dropping weight.  What didn’t make sense is that this baby girl was happy, so it didn’t seem to be stress related.  Once staff went in for a closer look the problem was quickly spotted…Elsa’s jaw was frozen shut.

That is exactly how Elsa received her name, we were discussing her condition and when we used the term “frozen” to describe her Elsa was officially her name.  It then became my personal mission that Princess Elsa would get her “happily ever after.”  I started reaching out to anyone who would listen to tell her story, but a lot like Elsa, no one would bite.  That didn’t stop me.  Her face and story was plastered on social media and then Elsa’s Prince Charming came forward.  The prince in question was a local Veterinarian that wanted to do what he could to make her whole again.  The doctor examined this baby girl and immediately found that she had suffered trauma, which broke her jaw, and the jaw healed on its own and incorrectly…hence it was frozen.  The veterinarian not only diagnosed this baby girl but supplied the surgery she needed.

When Elsa came back from surgery she was even happier and more excited than before she left.  Every time I went near her she would wiggle uncontrollably and stare at me with those sweet eyes as if to say, “find me a home.”  I told her story every chance I got.  Finally, one of the audience members fell in love with her as we all have here at the shelter.  Princess Elsa was going home.

This precocious pup not only was getting a loving home, but a second chance at life.  Every day she discovered not only that she could open her mouth for the first time but she had a voice!  It may not have been coming out of her but coming out of all of us that spoke for her.

As a child I wanted to believe in fairytales and happy endings, but life sometimes led me to believe otherwise.  That is until now!  Now I know there are such things as heroes all around us.  They come in various shapes and sizes but they are there.  They come in the form of people who hear the stories we tell every day and give these fur balls a chance.  They come in the little souls that are with us briefly and who we do all we can for them to have a “fur”ever home.

Yes, this year I had Christmas in July.  I was given a gift having known, loved and helped these two find homes.  That gift feels better than anything I could get wrapped up in the fanciest of paper and from the most expensive of stories.  Hopefully, this story will be a gift to you to consider adoption when it comes to adding to your family.  A gift that will give back to you in spades when it comes to love and kisses.  Happy Holidays!