Puppy Survives Euthanasia Attempt, Finds New Family

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A 7-month-old mixed pit bull pup named Rudolph, who survived an overcrowded shelter that tried to euthanize him, has found his forever home, an animal shelter official said Tuesday.

In a Jan. 16 Facebook post, the Kings Harvest No Kill Pet Rescue Shelter in Davenport, Iowa, described the experience of “this adorable young man” at another shelter. That post has been shared more than 2,000 times.

“Thank goodness the vet said he wouldn’t do it again,” read the Facebook post. “So we brought him to our shelter in hopes somebody would come adopt him and give him a second chance at life.”

Rochelle Dougall, Kings Harvest Pet Rescue’s assistant director, said the shelter partnered with a non-profit rescue organization called Save Our Strays to rescue Rudolph from his previous shelter and transport him to Iowa. 

Dougall would not name the previous shelter; Kings Harvest often volunteers to take dogs that might be euthanized at other shelters because of overcrowding.

Although Dougall said it was the first time her shelter had heard of a euthanized dog waking up, similar cases have occurred with other shelters across the country.

In 2018, one Texas dog was left blinded after a failed euthanasia attempt, CBS Austin reported.

“Euthanasia is usually just an overdose of anesthetic,” Dougall explained. “You have to hit the vein and you have to make sure you give enough. It could have been a combination of missing the right spot or not giving enough, so that he just went to sleep and woke up.”

Dougall said that the shelter’s veterinarians assured Rudolph was in tip-top shape. The only notable trait was that Rudolph “had a serenity to him,” which Dougall said was “quite unusual for a little pup.”

But the puppy’s calm personality transformed when Davenport residents Joyce Valentine, her 24-year-old son, Mitch, and his best friend entered the shelter on Jan. 18.

“He was just the sweetest little thing, and it seems like he really took to Mitch right away,” Valentine said. “[Rudolph] interacted with them, he started playing with them.”

Valentine said that because she’s a nurse, Rudolph’s traumatic experience “really tugged at [her] heart.” The family has since dubbed the puppy Rudy.

“He is such a strong little guy,” Valentine said. “And I was really hoping that I’d get to be apart of his story and his life, and give him the best life that I can.”

Despite the dozens of applications, calls and Facebook messages the shelter received about adopting the dog, Dougall said the decision about Rudolph’s new family really rested with the pup himself. Dougall said the puppy “really lit up and just instantly connected” with Mitch.

The shelter also wanted to ensure that Rudolph ended up with a local family, in accordance with the shelter’s adoption contract.

Since his adoption, Rudy has even won over Valentine’s 4-year-old rescue pit bull, Thatchet. 

“We have dubbed him as the ‘doggy dad,’” Valentine said. “They sleep together, they cuddle up together, they play really well together. Thatchet is really quite gentle with him.”

Valentine said Rudy has already proven to be “such a smart little dog” by learning new commands every day. He’s already learned the hand commands for sit and down.

“I just encourage people to adopt a dog,” Valentine said. “Most of them are just wonderful little guys, and they deserve a happy and healthy home.”

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COMMON ITEMS YOU CAN DONATE


  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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