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(Re-post from Dog Heirs)

For a while, I’ve been preaching the importance of networking shelter dogs. The more we share, the greater the chances of a shelter dog being saved.

In theory, you probably think, that makes sense. But maybe you need to see real proof to really believe it. Nico is all the proof you need.

The incredibly sad photo above is Nico, a 6 year old deaf Dogo Argentino who was in a Los Angeles animal shelter in the summer of 2009. The photo paints such a heartbreaking picture of a dog’s life on the inside. Nico was broken. Defeated. Done. He had given up and lost all hope, as so many shelter animals do.

It’s a hard photo to look at, isn’t it? But this photograph changed Nico’s life.

When the photograph hit the internet, it broke the heart of everyone who saw it. Thankfully some hearts were broken in a good way. People felt motivated to do something. They wanted to change the ending of Nico’s story.

People started sharing Nico’s photo and his story. And since the internet world is a really small place, word spread like wildfire. Soon Nico was pulled from the LA shelter, even though he was labeled “dangerous” and was believed to have been used for dog fighting. The kind soul who pulled him planned to take him to her veterinarian to be euthanized, but as she spent time with him, she came to realize there was more to Nico than met the eye.

Check out this video of Nico. It’s about 8 minutes long, but trust me, it’s worth every second! Please watch it!

Nico ended up in Noblesville, Indiana, at the shelter where I am a volunteer. He was placed with a wonderful foster mom who taught him how to be a pet. She showed him, probably for the first time in his life, what it was like to be loved.     The people who would become Nico’s forever family found his picture on the shelter’s webpage. They took him home and integrated him into their family, and since then they’ve added a canine sister for Nico.

Nico’s life hasn’t been without challenges. But he’s worlds away from where he was just 3 short years ago. He’s living the kind of life every dog deserves, with a family that adores him.

Nowadays, Nico is loving life. He’s even got his own Facebook page. And none of this would have been possible without the compassionate souls who networked him as he sat, hopeless, in that Los Angeles shelter.

So the next time you’re perusing Facebook and you come across a photo of a shelter dog, stop. Think about it. Ask yourself how you can help. And then believe that you can make a difference.
{Thank you to Deena Crouch for the photos above!}
Remember, it takes only one tiny spark to start a great forest fire. YOU can be that spark! YOU can put into motion the events that will change a shelter dog’s life.
Won’t you make a difference today? You can start by following our Facebook page, where we save lives every single day!
{this post was originally published on The Lazy Pit Bull blog.}