On July 2, 2017, an unattended bag was spotted by a lady at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Thinking it might be a suspicious item, she contacted airport security.
Officers from the canine unit arrived on the scene with their dogs to investigate. When the bag was opened by an officer, a 3-pound (approx. 1.3 kg) puppy was found concealed inside.
The puppy, a 3-month-old Chihuahua mix, had a note strapped to his collar.
The heartbreaking note read: “Hi! I’m Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight. She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart but she has NO other option.”
Sadly, the owner was forced to leave Chewy behind as she fled an abusive relationship, in which the puppy wasn’t spared from the violence either.
“My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy sooo much—please love and take care of him,” the owner desperately wrote.
An airport employee then connected Chewy with Linda Gilliam, president and founder of Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue in Las Vegas, who unhesitatingly accepted the dog into her shelter.
“My heart dropped to my knees,” Gilliam told The Dodo.
Speaking to CBS News, Gilliam said, “You could tell this wasn’t something [the dog’s owner] wanted to do.”
Chewy was taken to Town Center Animal Hospital in Las Vegas.
“He did have a bump on his head but in 24 hours it was gone,” Darlene Blair, of Connor & Millie’s Dog Rescue, told BBC News.
Other than a head and jaw injury, Chewy was in the pink of health.
Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue (CMDR) later posted a message on its Facebook page: “Please share in hopes that his mom sees this that she was brave to leave and that he will have a great life.”
This heartbreaking story of domestic violence did the rounds on social media, and tugged at the heartstrings of many people. Rather than reprimanding the woman for animal abandonment, netizens offered to adopt or help Chewy reunite with his owner.
“I would like to get this dog back to the owner she must be heartbroken,” one Facebook user wrote.
Another added, “Could someone please set up a Go Fund Me page for this beautiful woman and her baby to be together again?”
Although the owner didn’t come forward to claim the dog, Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue received almost 1,000 adoption applications from people who wished to offer Chewy a new forever home.
Hopefully, Chewy will find a safe home, which he deserves. The owner would certainly be pleased to know that too.
For anyone subject to domestic violence, there are shelters that provide care for the pets of abuse victims. Please refer to safeplaceforpets.org for the shelter listing or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for help.