March 11, 2015

ASPCA Happy Tails: There's Something About Maverick

They say timing is everything, and in the world of animal adoptions, nothing could be more true. For a tiny Shih Tzu named Maverick, a painful past paved the way for a bright, happy future—but none of it would have happened if he hadn’t been in the right place at the exact right time. Here is his Happy Tail.

In December 2012, Maverick was hit by a car. He was rescued by the local city shelter, but was transferred to the ASPCA once it became apparent that he couldn’t walk or use his legs. He had a fractured pelvis, a broken hip and a ruptured ligament in his knee. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Maverick trembled and cried while doctors assessed his situation. He was terrified of people and objects; he urinated and defecated from fear. It was clear that the poor dog was hurting in every possible way.

ASPCA veterinarians performed multiple surgeries on Maverick during his month-long stay at the hospital, and by January he was able to walk again. To ease his recovery, we sent him to live as a foster pet in the home of an ASPCA staffer, where he slowly learned to trust people. He became a regular at our facility, both as a patient and with his foster mom, and it was there that he first met Crissy.

Young couple holding two white dogs

Crissy M. had been working at the ASPCA as a customer service representative for just two weeks when she met Maverick in April 2013. “He was the $11,000 dog, that’s what we called him,” she says, referring to the costly surgeries the tiny pup had received. As a new employee, Crissy hadn’t planned on bringing home a new pet any time soon, but there was something special about Maverick, and she began visiting him on her lunch break. “He was always thrilled to see me. He was so friendly, so sweet,” she recalls fondly.

One day when Crissy went looking for Maverick, he was nowhere to be found. “I panicked,” she said, assuming that the dog had been adopted. She was waiting anxiously for the elevator when, all of a sudden, the doors opened and there he was. “He was going out for a walk with his foster mom. He had on a pink cast. I knew it was love.” Against all prior plans, Crissy knew that she and Maverick were meant to be. “I wanted to be the lucky human who gave him a loving home.”

Still in a cast, Maverick had one more hurdle to overcome: Crissy’s other dog, Rebecca. “I had Rebecca come in to meet him. She wasn’t thrilled at first, but they were cordial enough with each other that we were able to take Mav home and he finished his recovery with us,” she says. But it turns out that a little R&R—and a permanent home—were all that Maverick needed to come into his own. “Within a few days, Becky and Maverick were sharing toys and cuddles,” Crissy says with pride.

White dog wearing red sweater

In the year since his adoption, Maverick’s life has done a complete 180, and he seems to have forgotten all about his painful past. “Maverick is definitely a mama’s boy,” Crissy says. “If I’m in the shower, he’s on the bath mat. If I’m in the kitchen, he’s at my feet. He grew very attached to us and he’s filled our home with so much happiness.”

We’ll never know who hit Maverick with that car, but we do know that in some way, it led to his meeting with Crissy at the ASPCA. If she had started working one week later, or if he hadn’t been on the elevator at that precise moment, they might never have ended up together. But as we said, timing is everything, and after all his pain, Maverick is finally having the time of his life.  

Two white dogs sitting on a park bench