The U.S. spends approximately $12.56 billion on pet supplies annually, but for shelters, money like that goes toward rescuing and rehabilitating dogs like Cherry, one of the 53 pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring in 2007.
Just over nine years after the canine was taken from the horrific conditions at the NFL player’s kennels in Virginia, Cherry’s life has improved dramatically. Not only does he have a loving family, he is helping bring smiles and love to everyone he meets.
“When I saw Cherry for the first time, he looked so alone. He just needed somebody there to give him the time that he needed to recover,” owner Paul Fiaccone said in a videoBarkPost made as part of its Dog’s Best Day series. “He’s overcome so much. … He wants to be happy. He wants to give back. What he wants to do is love.”
In addition to being a lovable family pet, Cherry also participates in a community outreach program with children to help teach them about love and compassion.
To thank Cherry for his hard work and congratulate him on his recovery, his owners decided to give him a dog’s best day ever.
BarkPost gave him a day full of his favorite things, complete with a kitten cuddle fort.
Cherry isn’t the only pooch recovering from a bad situation, and officials at the Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana have come up with a creative way to help socialize and exercise their furry friends.
Phil Peckinpaugh, the shelter’s director, first noticed the influx of people wandering the streets as he played Pokémon Go with his daughter. Inspired, he became convinced that the game could actually benefit the dogs that inhabit the shelter.
“The exercise and stimulation for the dogs is the first priority. If we can get volunteers and adoptions, that’s been the number one goal. Always,” he said.
The shelter has already seen wild success with the program, even going so far as to call the social media exposure “epic.”
Every dog deserves to have their day, and pooches like the ones in Muncie, and Cherry, are certainly among the most deserving of all.
“Cherry deserves a great day like this because he gives back so much,” Paul said. “He has shown the world that even if you come from a background like he did, you can still go on to become a great family dog.”