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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Hello, Joey, I also have two small dogs that don't have any teeth - tongue hanging and all :) I just would like to let you know that both of them still eat kibble, they have no problem with that. After they got better from the teeth being removed, they start on kibble again. It's harder for them to eat soft food. You may want to try that. Wish you lots of fun with Mervin.

Eileen Gaines

When I read about someone as good as Joey T., I stop and pray to God, a Higher Power, or St. Francis of Assisi for the foster parent's continued blessings and safe keeping.


Oh, thank you, Joey, for all you do for the cherished animals. How could you not fall in love with Merwin. The photos of Merwin and the other darling animals in your home are too precious for words.


Mervin is adorable and so is Joey T!

Adriana Erni

He is so adorable...bless your heart for fostering him...I bet he and his siblings make every day very special...take care :-) XOXO


Thanks Joey and God bless you for taking care of this little guy. I salute you!!


You are an angel Joey T.! All of your fur babies are lucky to have you!

Dolores Chastain

I pray that Joey always has everything wonderful in this world for all his life, he truly is an angel. Little Marvin is so adorable, he is such a cute little baby.


Bless you Joey!! You are a special person!! Love your fur babies!! Soooo cute!!! Don't ever change, you have a heart of gold and you will be rewarded!! Wish there were more people in this world like you!! Your fur babies rock!


Wonderful story!!!!! We need more and more and more HEROES!!!!!!! :)