The holiday season has a funny way of bringing hope to tough situations, and some of this year’s blessings will land on Zuzu the dog. The two-year-old German shepherd mix named blew up the internet in November with a heart-breaking story.
After losing her father, the dog fell into a deep depression noticed by her owners. She ran away and was found on the streets this past Thanksgiving. After which, officials took her to Downey Animal Care Center in Downey, California.
Shortly after, The Mercury News reported that her family came to the shelter, and Zuzu “lit up like a Christmas tree.” Unfortunately, they came looking for a new dog, leaving Zuzu abandoned and the internet enraged. The family is believed to have not wanted to deal with her grief and constant crying, despite the excitement she displayed when they visited the shelter.
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“Once I found out they weren’t taking her, my heart broke,” said Downey volunteer Desi Lara in this piece from the Daily Mail. Videos of the encounter between Zuzu and her former owners went viral on YouTube, Imgur and major news outlets, garnering millions of views.
The outwave of support created a whole new world for the pup. Lara renamed the dog Zuzu (formerly Princess) after the little girl in the classic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The videos sparked the rescue group The Pet Adoption Fund to take the famous pooch away to live in a no-kill shelter. Also, iHeartDogs reports that dozens of families have expressed interest in adopting her.
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Downey Shelter posted an ABC7 video about Zuzu with this accompanying message, “Please remember that every shelter pet has an equally tragic story as to how they landed at a municipal shelter... and deserves the same amount of national attention... and you can feel just as good adopting, and saving, one of them!
For more great stories about shelter rescues, check out our new show Finding Fido! Pairing hopeful pet owners with their ideal pooch, host Seth Casteel creates turnaround stories like Zuzu’s each episode.