5 min read

Shelter Dog Still Wears The Sweater That Reminds Him Of Home

Someone just dropped him off with his doggy bed — and now he needs a forever family.

It's not so much the text messages about sad, abandoned animals that Noni Boen Schirm gets every day. But the pictures.

Often they're of cats and dogs peering out of a kennel. Shellshocked by the sudden, dramatic change in their lives. They're frequently sick. Or too young to be alone.

And Noni, who works with several rescue organizations in the San Bernardino, California, area, can't say no to any of them.

Noni Boen Schirm

She gets alerts from the shelter about animals who are in desperate need - mostly pets abandoned too young or needing critical care.

"Whenever I get texts," she tells The Dodo, "I go to the shelter and grab them all."

She's on the front line of caring for these desperate animals until they can find a foster home.

But the picture Noni received on Tuesday morning was different from so many that came before. Sunny didn't look like a typical shelter dog. In fact, the 7-week-old Chihuahua was still wearing the navy sweater his former owner had knit for him.

Noni Boen Schirm

He even arrived at the San Bernardino shelter with his doggy bed.

Noni Boen Schirm

It seemed whoever surrendered Sunny had loved him a lot, even if for the briefest moment.

And the tiny dog, suddenly alone at a bustling shelter, clung to every last stitch of the love he once knew.

Noni Boen Schirm

Until Noni arrived at the shelter on Tuesday morning - and gave him something more lasting to cling to.

"He was scared," she says. "But once he gets to know you, he's playful."

Within half an hour, Noni had found Sunny a foster home - one that has the option to adopt him.

"He went straight to my friend's house after I picked him up," she says.

Noni Boen Schirm

And, even if his foster family doesn't end up adopting him, Sunny's days of clinging to an old sweater for comfort are already behind him.

Because for the rest of his life, he'll be wrapped up in a lasting security blanket - the warmth of family.

Noni Boen Schirm

As for Noni, her phone will keep buzzing with more pleas for help. And she will always pick up.

Noni Boen Schirm

Once, she even took in four cottontail bunnies who were just a week old. Noni bottle-fed them until they were strong enough to be returned to the wild. And another time, she cared for 56 kittens - just days old - at once.

"Usually people say that they find the fur babies somewhere," she adds. "Even though we know that it's theirs, they just don't want to pay the fee."

In the end, it's often Noni who pays the bill. With compassion.