Member Story: Abandoned Pup Chooses Love

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 1:30pm

In July 2009, a special little dog with big brown eyes was found abandoned in a box outside Angels for Animals Animal Center in Canfield, Ohio, a participant in the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge. She was alone and in desperate need of a loving home. Luckily, Elizabeth Stark’s family decided to adopt the homeless pup and give her a fresh start.

They chose to call her Chooey, a name they picked to commemorate this sweet dog’s endearing snaggletooth. Elizabeth’s family also thought Chooey’s shiny blonde coat gave her a stylish look, so they adapted the spelling of her name to match the famed shoe designer, Jimmy Choo. One of Chooey’s favorite past times is to chew on her pet parents’ shoes, so the name is very fitting.

It didn’t take long before the Starks were head over heels for their furry new addition.

“How could anyone not enjoy the company of such a sweet little companion?” Elizabeth says. “Chooey is unlike any other dog I have ever encountered. Sometimes I’m not even sure if she is really a dog. She stretches like a cat, howls like a wolf, dances like a monkey, and smiles like a toddler.”

But whatever animal personality Chooey chooses, she is an energetic and steadfast companion.

“Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages—and they're covered with fur and filled with love,” Elizabeth says.

Did you adopt a homeless pet? Tell us about your furry friend in the comments.

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I can't imagine life without any of our three. Harley was our first, we adopted her (with the name... even though it's a strange one for a cocker spaniel) from the SPCA when she was 3 and a half. She was an anonymous surrender. She had social issues that we continued to work on, but realized that it might help her to have a sibling. We finally adopted Spudnik a year later as an eight week old puppy. He was surrendered by a breeder when a pug got in with her tibetan spaniel females and resulted in a couple of mixed litters. He was just what Harley needed. We thought our little family was complete, but a year later we were researching tibetan spaniels, trying to figure out what aspects of his personality fit with each breed, when we stumbled upon a Petfinder listing for a pug / tibbie mix. The pup looked EXACTLY like our Spud. We contacted the rescue organization and it turned out to be Spud's sister who was returned to the shelter because she was too rough. We knew we could provide the perfect home for Daisy. Now, we can't imagine our lives without any one of them, and they get upset when we have to separate any of them. A couple of years ago, Harley had a major health scare and almost died... she had to have a 4 hour surgery to remove a 4 pound mass from her abdomen, including a splenectomy. The mass was so entwined with her major organs that the vet told us not to expect much... he even confessed later that he almost made the call that he'd have to put her to sleep on the table, but decided to give it one more shot and it was like everything opened up. It was the most stressful period of our lives, and the tugs (as we call them) were as depressed as we were when she didn't come home. We were all so happy to bring her home after all of that, and the other two pups were SO happy to see their sister. We love our rescue pups, and treat them like our children. We don't understand how anyone could have possibly surrendered Harley or Daisy, because they are the sweetest, most loving dogs and everyone who meets them wants to take them home, but we are so happy that we got the chance to make them a part of our family.

kate mueller

i feed all the animals that stop by my porch every night. most are feral but every once in a while i meet a dog or cat who is clearly domesticated. when this is the case, i either find a no-kill shelter with space for them or i find them homes myself. one such domesticated cat began to spend all her time in my backyard. i called her vice president bitsy (because she always has something to say). i asked around the neighborhood to see if perhaps she belonged to someone. she did. some college girls a few doors down said she was theirs and verified that she was spayed. well, the vice president continued to spend all her time in my yard and i just assumed that my cat food was tastier or she got more attention from me and my family. i loved driving into my garage after getting off work and seeing bitsy race in after me meowing and purring. a month passed like this and the weather started to get really cold and rainy but bitsy was ALWAYS outside. i hated it. i stressed over it. finally i went and knocked on my neighbor's door to see if maybe they couldn't keep her in when the weather was terrible. THEY HAD MOVED! they unabashedly abandoned my sweet vice president. so i took bitsy to the vet and made sure her shots were updated and she didn't have any contagious diseases before i added her to my family of 5 other inside kitties. she was healthy except for some severe dental disease. my vet fixed her up though and finally she came home (minus a few teeth). she has been a loving and essential part of my family for the last year. i am glad those girls left her because now i have the most amazing cat!


My daughter and I went to the shelter to try to get this particular dog we had seen online. When we got there another family had taken him first. A little down we were about to leave when one of the worker asked if we would like to see a cocker spaniel. We said sure, and we took him for a walk. We fell in love with him. We took Jake home that afternoon in January of 2012. As we left the shelter I told my daughter that I believe that fate is what led us to Jake. He has been such a comfort to my entire family. My father became ill shortly after we got Jake, and this little dog seemed to know that my dad needed him. He was always by his side. My mother spoiled her new "grandson" to thank him, but also because she loved him too. Then my mother became terminally ill. Jake was there for her this time, but always managed to make sure all of us were ok. My mother passed away in July. Jake comforted all of us, but we could see he was mourning too. I let him have something of hers and he seemed better. Now once again my father is ill, but his little buddy Jake is right back at his side. He has not forgotten that my daughter and I are his number one priority though. What a true blessing this little guy has been to all of us. I can't thank the shelter enough for what they have given us. Of course I did bring Jake back to say hello to them. I had him carry a donation to the woman that recommended Jake to us.


A few years back my wife and I "adopted" a little mutt that walked up to our place in the country. We have always had cats (indoors) and had a Himalayan already inside. But this amazing & precious little dog captured our hearts. She was an adult and had obviously already given birth to a couple of litters. We took her to the vet and had her checked out. She had a bad case of worms and our vet wasn't sure she would live. But she did and we then had her "fixed" and kept her indoors as well.
She always seemed to favor me (according to my wife), maybe because I usually walked her and talked to her. In fact I could barely make a move without her follwoing after me. If I laid down for a nap she would lie down either on the bed or right next to it.
We moved to Missouri a few yaars later and took her with us of course. Then after having her for around five years she became ill and we had to have her put to sleep. Her kidneys were failing and it was breaking our hearts. Though I am normally a cat person this little mutt (we named Missy) has forever changed me. Never have I enjoyed or felt this much love and devotion from an animal. There is no grander feeling than coming home and having a dog (or cat) come running toward you excitedly!
Missy gave us five amazing years of love, devotion and memories to last a lifetime. Someday I trust we'll be reunited and I'm sure she'll come running as I enter the Pearly Gates!


How sad...the response y'all gave her...i thought animal lovers were more compassionate than everyone else...i guess not. Y'all just leave her alone...dont judge her...besides u dont know the whole story...sometimes things happen beyond our control...OMG I may not be coming back here again...bunch of bullies!

Kim Reaser

It's always nice when they're adopted, but I have to point out that at least someone left the dog outside a shelter. Out of the 4 I have right now, 2 were drop offs, one was a "rescue" and we just adopted a senior yellow lab who was found wandering on a deserted mountain road, skin and bones, horrible skin infection, hair falling out, cataracts, missing front teeth...if only his previous owner had done the responsible thing and taken him to a shelter. So let's at least give a little praise for the effort of someone to give the dog a chance at the shelter.

Lynn White

God bless the family that rescued this adorable dog!!!! And I wish curses and curses on the family that just tossed this dog out....with all the rescue services available, those people need to be shot!!!!


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In the name of all that is good and holy, PLEASE tell me that someone is going to investigate this dog's situation. It seems quite evident that the writer of the original post is a child so who knows what's actually going on, but REALLY??? It's incomprehensible to me that an ASPCA blog can print this and not follow up on the welfare of this dog.

Patrick Oliver

Congratulations Chooey!