A three-month-old puppy was found alone and abandoned in a Las Vegas airport bathroom with a handwritten note placed beside him. The chihuahua’s owner explained she was a victim of domestic abuse and could no longer afford to take care of the dog.
READ MORE: Why would someone stay with their abuser?
The puppy named Chewy was found at the McCarren Airport and is being cared for by Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue.
The rescue group posted a picture of Chewy on Facebook along with a photo of the handwritten note left by the owner:
“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.
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 rescue group says they are overwhelmed with the number of applications they have received to adopt Chewy. Although it’s a happy ending for the puppy this story highlights the plight domestic abuse victims face.
Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue confirms that they have not heard from the owner since the story of Chewy went viral. But Darlene Blair who works for the organization is confident that this was not a normal dog-dumping situation.
“Since she left a note explaining the situation and why she left him we are fairly confident this was not the normal dog dump situation. Those people don’t leave notes. Our screening process to adopt one of our dogs is intense so his and her safety is first and foremost.”
Management at the organization says it will take them several weeks to go through the paperwork and find Chewy a new home but the little pup is doing well.
WATCH: Victims of domestic abuse urged to seek help
Just like leaving an abusive partner can become complicated for someone with children, it also becomes complicated when pets are involved.
Advocacy groups say many women in Canada, for example, are ready to leave their violent partner but can’t bear to leave behind their animals, which are subject to domestic abuse as well.
Most women’s shelters do not accept pets, so one organization in Ottawa called PetSafe set out to do something about the issue.
The SafePet program, created by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), helps pets escape abusive homes along with their owners.
Nearly half of Ontario women (48 per cent) who left an abusive partner said a pet delayed their decision to leave, according to Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals data.
Organizers of the SafePet program say there needs to be more support for women out there who are ready to leave their abusive partner with their pets.
Here are some additional resources for those in need:
Canadian Mental Health Association
Child Welfare League of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada, Family Violence Prevention Team, Centre for Health Promotion & Family Violence Initiative
Neighbours Friends & Families
— With files from Tania Kohut, Global News