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From Stray to Star: Mervin’s Happy Tail

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 11:00am
Chihuahua wearing sweater on a walk

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.”

Chihuahua standing on park bench

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Ah so cute


Thank God for people like Joey T! This little guy looks so happy now!


He is so cute. You are such a good foster dad! So glad to hear all your babies get along so well. Keep up the good work.


Mervin is adorable, Love him! What a special person Joey is too!


He is so handsome in his sweater!


A happy beginning for all! Lovely story.


I know how you feel about not being able to drop them back off and leaving them there. I am a foster failure too.


This is why I do not foster. I donate money each month, and I buy things that the local rescues need for the dogs when they express a need for beds, toys, etc. However, I know for a fact I would not be able to give any animal who has been in my home for more than one day, back to live in a cage. I just love all of them so much. I wish I could foster, but I am disabled, and would end up with a house full and would need help taking care of them. Right now I just have my 3 cats, each about 12 years old. I used to have 3 dogs as well, but my last one, Mickey, a black lab mix, died last year, so I have decided to just have my cats for now.

Pamela Cummins

You Go Boy! You are angel from GOD, stay strong my friend

Kim Sether

Way to go Joey !!! Wish there were alot more people in this world like you. Looks like you have an absolute wonderful little boy there.