For 2-year-old Beagle Daniel, 2014 is getting off to quite a rosy start. New Year’s Day, the spunky pooch joined a group of other rescue dogs aboard the special Lucy Pet Foundation float at this year’s Rose Parade in beautiful Pasadena, California.
While riding on the flowery float is sure to be a blast for Daniel and his puppy peers, they are there in support of a very important mission — to help the Lucy Pet Foundation advance their mission to reduce the number of unwanted pets that end up in shelters, and to abolish the use of the gas chamber, a method of euthanasia that is cruel, but still legal in many states.
Joey Herrick, the former president of Natural Balance pet foods, co-founded the Lucy Pet Foundation just over three months ago, hoping to make a difference.
“I’m determined to make a change in the way things have been done,” Herrick tells the Pasadena Star-News. “Once you get in the shelters and you see what’s going on, it’s horrific. They are putting animals to sleep because there are just so many coming in.”
Herrick hopes to tackle the problem head on, to save as many animals as possible.
“The mission for the Lucy Pet Foundation is to reduce pet overpopulation by having mobile spay/neuter clinics all across the country and to also work with causes that benefit animal welfare,” he explains.
It’s a cause very near and dear to Daniel, too.
You see, Daniel’s life nearly ended just as it was getting started. When Daniel was only six months old, he was ushered into a small steel box alongside 17 other dogs scheduled for euthanasia at a Florence, Alabama, animal control facility. The box was pumped full of carbon monoxide gas. While the other dogs cried and clawed at the sides of the box, gasping in pain until their final breaths, Daniel miraculously survived.
Animal control workers could not believe their eyes — not only was the puppy was still alive, he stepped out of the gas chamber with his tail wagging. The workers, touched by what they’d just witnessed, didn’t have it in them to try and gas the little guy once more. Instead, they rushed the Beagle to a veterinarian for treatment and then reached out to rescue organizations, hoping to find someone special to adopt the miracle dog. They also gave Daniel his name, naming him for the biblical figure who survived after being thrown into a den of lions.
“The amazing thing about Daniel is his demeanor,” Dwyer tells CBS Los Angeles. “He is one of the most friendly, affable dogs. He just loves life.”
Smitten with Daniel, Dwyer filled out an adoption application on the spot.
Today, Dwyer and Daniel raise awareness about the plight of shelter pets and work with other animal advocacy organizations like the Lucy Pet Foundation, hoping to outlaw the use of gas chambers for good.
“I feel as though Daniel can do tremendous good for animals languishing in shelters,” Dwyer tells Los Angeles Magazine before heading to the Rose Parade.“We’re very excited about the trip to Pasadena, and we hope it will highlight our mission to help animals in need and put a spotlight on creating a more compassionate world.”
Daniel’s amazing story has already inspired legislative action in 31 U.S. states banning inhumane forms of euthanasia.
For more information about what you can do to ban gas chambers and other inhumane forms of euthanasia in your state, visit the American Humane Association website. If you’d like to continue to follow Daniel the Beagle’s story, check out his Facebook page for updates.