Brewster the Chihuahua: He’s One in 10 Million
You’ve probably seen the paw-shaped bumper sticker “Who Rescued Who?” There is no better example of this than Brewster, a pint-sized Chihuahua adopted last holiday season in Corona, California. From foster care to his forever family, Brewster seems to change the life of everyone he meets.
You might say Brewster is one in a million, but he’s actually one in 10 million. Brewster was the 10 millionth pet adopted through Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays, a worldwide adoption drive spearheaded by Helen Woodward Animal Center.
This lovable little boy was not cut out for life on the streets. To survive, Brewster had to dodge coyotes and other stray dogs that would rough him up. During these run-ins, the big dogs would flip him in the air and pin him to the ground, making him cry in pain.
He was hungry, too. Brewster started showing up at a neighbor’s gate as the man fed his own dogs, wagging his tail and hoping there would be some food for him, too. Eventually, the man couldn’t bear seeing the hungry pup and brought Brewster to the I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue.
When Brewster arrived at I.C.A.R.E., he weighed only 5 pounds and his ribs were poking out. The brown and white Chihuahua was filthy, covered in scabs and had broken teeth that desperately needed to be removed. Yes, he was a mess, but the I.C.A.R.E. team didn’t hesitate. They arranged his medical care and placed him with foster mom Dana Stark who would be by his side for months of surgeries and treatment.
At first, little Brewster was terrified of his foster family, perhaps because he had been abused by people in the past. Soon, he warmed up, and his bright spirit started to shine through. After he learned to walk on a leash, he would proudly prance like a tiny show horse, Dana said.
Brewster started accompanying Dana on trips to visit her sick mother-in-law in a rehabilitation facility. The dog seemed to sense just what she needed and would lie quietly on her lap and snuggle up beside her in bed. During his visits, Brewster would greet all the residents with kisses and tail wags, providing much needed joy to patients who had lost limbs, suffered strokes or lost the ability to speak.
When Dana’s mother-in-law passed away, Brewster seemed to know his job was done. Dana knew it was time to find her faithful friend a forever home, but it wouldn’t be easy to let go. She took him to several adoption events, but he would always look at her as if to say, “Why am I here? I already have a home with you.”
But Brewster still had more lives to change.
Meeting the Perfect Family by Fate
Carolyn Cunningham had never been a “Chihuahua person” until she rescued Jack, an emaciated Chihuahua found in the middle of an intersection. Carolyn had only planned to foster Jack, but when a family showed interest in adopting him, she realized she couldn’t give him up.
It took many months, but Jack eventually became inseparable with the Cunningham’s other dog, a mixed-breed named Marshall. When Marshall passed away from cancer last July, the whole family was devastated, including Jack.
“After Marshall’s passing, Jack did not eat for almost a week and acted very depressed and moped around for a long period of time afterwards,” Carolyn said.
When the family felt ready, they started looking for a new companion for Jack and planned to visit a dog adoption event at a pet store in Anaheim, California.
As fate would have it, they ended up at the wrong pet store, which was also having an adoption event. Carolyn, who had been researching rescue Chihuahuas online, immediately recognized Brewster. The lovable lad melted into her arms and laid his head against her shoulder, and she was sold.
Before Brewster could become a permanent member of the Cunningham family, his foster mom Dana brought him to their home for a meet-and-greet with Jack. The whole way there, Brewster laid his head on the console and looked at Dana with his big eyes. She was heartbroken to give her foster dog away, but she knew it was time for Brewster to share his therapeutic gifts with another family.
As if by instinct, Brewster took it upon himself to help Jack, sharing a sunbeam with him as they napped and prancing right beside him on walks.
Carolyn says there are now doggie toys strewn around her house, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I now declare I have OCD – Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder,” Carolyn said.
Carolyn is thinking of having Brewster certified as a therapy dog.
Brewster may not be able to fly, but this superhero of a dog has some pretty amazing powers. He can comfort the sick and help heal hearts. For his next feat, Brewster will inspire thousands. The pint-sized pooch will be a guest of honor at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Business of Saving Lives Conference on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8:15 a.m. at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Hotel. For being the 10 millionth pet adopted through the Home 4 the Holidays program, Blue Buffalo will present Brewster’s family with a year’s worth of food and a $1,000 check, as well as 2,500 pounds of food for the I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue. You’re invited to the conference to meet this super dog and learn how to save millions more like him.
About Home 4 the Holidays (H4TH)
As one of the most successful pet adoption programs in the world, H4TH partners with thousands of animal organizations dedicated to finding forever homes for orphan pets. Founded by Helen Woodward Animal Center and supported this year by Blue Buffalo, the program began in 1999 with just 14 participating animal shelters in San Diego County. Since it began 16 years ago, Home 4 the Holidays has helped more than 10 million families experience the joy of pet adoption, including more than 1.3 million pet adoptions this year alone. For more information, please visit www.home4theholidays.org.