Gimme Me Shell-ter - One Pitbull’s Tale From Death Row To Dream Home

It’s Pets Thursday here at Fab and we’re celebrating with another story about one of our animal heroes. Fab copywriter Calla Salinger tells us about her precious pitbull Shelly. 


Here at Fab, we’re all about smiles. Lately my smile has been noticeably wider and brighter. You see, I’m a dog person. A pretty serious one: I have a running list of possible dog names stored in my phone. I watch Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees” religiously. And yes, I am that weirdo who stands outside dog parks and peers longingly at playful pups.  

For years, I have been hounding my boyfriend for a dog. He is not a dog person—he’s a numbers guy. When I say puppy, he hears vet bills. We made a plan to put money aside, and wait for the right time to get a dog. And I was okay with it. That all changed one day in September. 

I received an email from a dog-sitting service I had signed up for. It was from a woman named Lindsey, who is affiliated with the Social Tees Animal Rescue. She was desperately seeking a foster family for a 10-month-old puppy named Shelly.


Shelly is a pint-sized pittie with a king-sized story. Shelly was found tied up and abandoned on the street. She was brought to the Manhattan Animal Care & Control, and four days later she landed on the dreaded At Risk List, a.k.a. Doggy Death Row. Lindsey saved her from the shelter, but Shelly’s saga doesn’t end there. Lindsey soon discovered that Shelly was seriously ill. She suffers from a very bad heart murmur and, at the time, she was entering heart failure. Lindsey didn’t miss a beat—she started a Facebook campaign to raise money for Shelly’s risky and very costly heart surgery. The online group quickly grew to more than 400 members. Together they raised enough funds to send Shelly to the Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, the only place that would perform such a high-risk surgery on little Shelly.


Against all odds, Shelly survived, but she had yet to find a forever home. After much pleading and a short meet-and-greet at a midtown dog park, we decided to become Shelly’s temporary foster family. Two days later, Shelly was sitting in our living room. Despite her dreadful past, she greeted us with exuberant licks and wiggles. 

Shelly’s short stay turned into weeks, and then months. My boyfriend was steadfast on sticking to the plan—Shelly was not ours for keeps. But as time ticked on, he started to change his tune. It was hard to deny that Shelly had become a part of our family. Shelly had wiggled her way into our hearts.


We officially adopted Shelly on December 17, 2012. In the months since we first met her, Shelly has eaten five pairs of shoes, a remote control, part of our couch, and every pillow we own. She’ll always have health issues, but when you look into her big, soulful eyes, you would never know she wasn’t always the happy pit she’s growing up to be. We’re grateful that we could give Shelly’s sad tale a happy ending, and that Shelly picked us to be her forever family.


Calla Salinger 

If you have doggy hero in your life who deserves a special treat, check out tonight’s Pets’ Shop.


  1. marianniepants reblogged this from fab and added:
    stellar writers shares...story about her new dog,
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