They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is just what a photo of a 4-year-old American bulldog, taken by a volunteer in an animal shelter, has done and eventually set off a chain reaction on social media.
On June 25, a heartbreaking photo of a dejected and really unhappy bulldog, named Ritter, was shared by Hamilton County’s Humane Society’s Facebook page. Unsurprisingly, there was an instant tugging of heartstrings of animal lovers everywhere. The photo, showing Ritter in a corner of his kennel hanging his head down, got worldwide attention and has been shared over 2,700 times.
An Abandoned LifeI sometimes wander the holding areas in the shelters where I volunteer. This is where the dogs who…
There are many reasons for people to leave their pets in an animal shelter, and in the case of Ritter, it was that his owner had lost his home. However, Ritter was not alone, as the owner had also dropped off his 12-year-old dog, named Corki, on the weekend.
“Ritter’s negative reaction to the shelter was immediate and heartbreaking. This is the reality our animals face every day—Heartbreak and a sense of hopelessness,” the shelter captioned the now-viral post.
A volunteer dog walker and photographer, Alan Wlasuk, captured the photo of Ritter at the right moment when he first arrived at the animal shelter. Wlasuk captioned the thought-provoking post as “An Abandoned Life.” He shared it was difficult not to judge the previous owners of animals dropped off.
“Or, if dropped off, how a canine family member can so easily be discarded. Yet there are sometimes good reasons and, at least in the shelters where I volunteer, the dog almost always will find a new family where they will once again be loved. Yes – it is hard not to judge when you see a depressed, confused animal whose life has been upended,” he further added.
Not long after, on the evening of June 25, the shelter reported that a home had been found for Ritter, and they thanked everyone for sharing the story and reaching out. A kindhearted, caring person, named Sophie Marie, commented on the Facebook post, “I adopted him! Get to pick him up Thursday and love him forever.”
For Ritter, it was a happy ending all in one day with the shelter posting, “Ritter has found a home!! Thank you to everyone who shared his story and reached out. Happily ever after, Ritter!”
Over the following few days, offers on the shelter’s Facebook to adopt the bulldog came flooding in from Vancouver and Belgium to New Zealand. Broken-hearted by Ritter’s sad, sad photo, owner of American bulldog Nicole Davis, a social media user, commented on the post and confirmed the gentle nature of the breed.
Another Facebook user, named Ronald Morrell, explained more about Ritter’s past, writing how his son had rescued Ritter originally but sickness and no work led to his son losing “the home they were living in and had to move out and could not take Ritter.” He was happy Ritter had found a new home and requested the new owner to share some pictures.
Dreams do come true and happily ever afters are real. Ritter’s story and face took the world by storm, showing up in…
However, not all surrendered dogs have bright futures like Ritter. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters in the United States, out of which over 600,000 dogs are euthanized and about 1.6 million dogs have a happy ending.
On Thursday of the same week, Ritter’s new owner commented on Humane Society’s Facebook post, “Thank you to everyone who have sent their well wishes to Ritter. He arrived at his forever home tonight and is so happy taking all of his new toys for a spin.”