Tale of survival highlights importance of spaying, neutering

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May 01, 2011

SULPHUR, OKLA. — After cheating death and surviving a frigid night in a Dumpster, Wall-E the puppy is somewhat of a celebrity. He now has his own Facebook page—Wall-E's Friends—and more than 3,000 people from around the world have asked about adopting him.


Lucky dog: Wall-E achieved instant celebrity status through his ordeal. (Marcia Machtiger)
But those who rescued him say his story has an even more important message.

"This just shows how important spaying and neutering is," says Amanda Kloski, a kennel technician at Arbuckle Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma, who has been taking care of the Jack Russell terrier-mix puppy. "If he had not been abandoned, he never would have been in this situation."

Vets at Arbuckle Veterinary Clinic spayed Wall-E last week, implanted him with a microchip and officials are culling the requests to find a suitable home for the puppy after his brush with destiny.

Wall-E's story began outside the Sulphur Animal Shelter in Sulphur, Okla., on a chilly Friday evening. Animal Control Officer Scott Prall found a cage filled with six puppies outside the shelter's gate.

"They were in poor health and skinny," Prall says. "I had a full house and was afraid they would end up infecting the other dogs."

A veterinarian arrived and Prall says each dog was "put down ... and pronounced dead."

Wall-E had other plans.

When Prall arrived the next morning to feed the shelter dogs, he was shocked to find the puppy staring up at him in the dumpster.

Kloski, who was scheduled to take a cattle dog and another group of puppies to a rescue group in Texas that morning, arrived soon after.

"I got nauseous," Kloski says when she heard the puppy was alive. "I thought he was suffering. I was asking Scott all kinds of questions and Scott says, 'He's fine. He's just hungry.' I go over there and look in and he's jumping around and wagging his tail. I said, 'OK, load him up.' And I took him with me."

Kloski put Wall-E's information on http://Petfinder.com/ and that's where Marcia Machtiger of Pittsburgh entered the picture.

"She saw the picture on the Petfinder site and contacted me to see if he had found a home yet," Kloski says.

Machtiger, an animal advocate, was worried Wall-E would be sent back to the shelter and euthanized, so she sent $100 to cover the costs of boarding him for a week and turned to her 4,700 friends on Facebook.

Once the Wall-E story hit Facebook, his popularity went viral. Since then, more than 3,000 people have inquired about adopting him and about 1,000 people have completed applications, Kloski says, adding she even received a completed application from France. Even Prall had a call from someone in Hamburg, Germany, interested in adopting Wall-E.

"We had calls from across the United States and Canada and even a donation from Australia," Kloski adds.

Kloski and Machtiger are each reviewing the applications and will compare notes.

"Rescue groups are helping us do home studies on the finalists," Kloski says.

Machtiger adds, "There are thousands of Wall-Es in your own backyard. Go to a shelter."