With three dogs and a cat, Joey T. is known to his friends and family as a “foster failure.” Every time he takes an animal home for “temporary” care, they end up becoming a permanent fixture in his life! Such was the case with Mervin the Chihuahua, a very special special-needs dog who’s made a major splash in Joey’s life—and on social media! Here is their very Happy Tail.
Mervin came to the ASPCA as a stray in November 2013. He was emaciated and had major kneecap damage that required surgery. Beyond that, he was suffering from a very severe dental disease that required full removal of his teeth. Toothless and moving slow, the lil’ guy was having a hard time getting adopted. So Joey T., who works in the ASPCA Adoption Center, agreed to take him in as a foster. With four rescue animals in his home already, Joey says that “most people in my life just kind of said, ‘Here we go again!’” Joey tried to remain strong, but when he brought Mervin back to the Adoption Center and went to put him in his kennel, he simply couldn’t bring himself to do it. Sure enough, he adopted Mervin.
Back at home, Mervin settled in nicely with all the other animals. Though the initial adjustment involved some growls and guarding, Joey says, “After a few days of patience and lots of love, they all now get along great. He and my oldest dog Moose actually cuddle together!”
Though he will be on soft food for the rest of his life, Mervin doesn’t let his past get him down. In fact, he’s become an Instagram star thanks to Joey! He posts pictures of Lil’ Merv as @MervinTheChihuahua, and he currently has over 4,000 followers. It seems that Joey’s not the only one who can’t get enough of this precious pup.
When Mervin is not busy starring on Instagram, Joey says “His favorite thing to do is burrow under the covers, and when we play he likes to nibble my nose—which is fine since he has no teeth! He really has had a big turnaround, and just lives his little life to the fullest. I couldn’t be happier.”
We bet Mervin feels the same way.
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At the ASPCA, we have nothing but love for the members of our Foster Care Program. These generous, kind-hearted people open their homes to young, sick, or small animals that are not yet ready for permanent placement, and give them love and comfort until they’re ready to move on. So when we heard about Leia, a tiny kitten who won the heart of her foster mom, we had a feeling she was something special. We tracked down Emily H. to find out just how Leia went from temporary resident to full-time family member. Here is their very Happy Tail.
“When I first met Leia, she was so tiny,” recalls Emily. “She was smaller than her littermates, Han Solo and Padme, and she wouldn’t eat.” An expert foster mom, Emily syringe-fed Leia baby food for a week to help her gain some weight and find her appetite. The Force must have been strong back then, as the intimate feeding experience bonded the two in a way that Emily could not deny. “When the other foster kitties went back to the shelter to find their forever homes, I already knew that Leia’s forever home was with us.”
In the year since her adoption, Leia has grown into a perfect pet. Thanks to Emily’s persistence, the teeny kitten mastered the art of eating—in fact, Emily is thinking it might be time to cut back! She is so curious and playful that it’s almost easy to forget how timid and small she once was.
A true testament to the power of fostering, Emily left us with an encouraging message. “Shelters are full of beautiful cats with incredible personalities, and I cannot recommend the foster program enough. Your new best friend might be waiting for you right now at the ASPCA!”