FORT WORTH - Around 23,000 animals end up at the Fort Worth animal shelter each year. While a record number get adopted, many must be put down.
It looked like that would be the case for a rare bull terrier named "Tugg," who was left for dead. But, not only is he alive, he now has thousands of Facebook friends.
"He loves to give kisses," said Blake Ovard, with Fort Worth Animal Control, of the bull terrier.
Tugg was at a Fort Worth dog show Friday, but he wasn't there for show. While many of the participating dogs have pedigrees and pranced for the judges, it was Tugg who has a story that pulls at the heart strings, which is precisely where he got his name.
"He was wrapped up in a blanket, staked down on the side of the road with a sign that said 'Dog,'" said Ovard of when the dog was found in July overheated, underfed and with scabs covering his body due to mange and infections.
"The emergency vet said he was too far gone and needed to be put down," Ovard said.
But, there was something about the rare bull terrier puppy that got to Officer Ovard.
"His eyes were swollen shut," he said. "He couldn't open his eyes, but when he would hear you at the cage he would come over and visit. He just had that spark; he wanted to live."
Ovard brought Tugg home and spent much of his modest paycheck to keep him alive.
"We see the worst of the worst every day," he said. "This is one of the bright lights, one of the positives."
Now, Tugg is a star and a favorite with school kids and charities. He even has his own Facebook page with more than 4,000 friends following his "pup-dates."
Ovard can't show Tugg because has no papers like the other pedigree dogs, but that doesn't stop the dog from showing his zeal for life.
"When you come from that even if you're on death's door, you can be this with just a little love and care," Ovard said.