First person: Changing the world — Walker’s story

Published 1:55 pm Saturday, June 30, 2018

By Ruth Olson

AMERICUS — On a Saturday morning in October 2017, someone walked into the Sumter Humane Society with a laundry basket. When we looked inside there were nine, two-week-old puppies covered in feces and maggots. There were three of us on staff that day and we immediately sprang into action. I started bathing and picking maggots off the pups, Trinity continuing cleaning and blow drying, and Brodrick syringe-fed puppy formula and put them on a heating pad.
Three were already dead, two died within an hour, and four went home with me that night. I continued round-the-clock feeding every two hours and by Monday only one puppy was still alive, and he had lost an eye to maggots.

Walker, as a young puppy, liked to sit atop his housemate, Charlie, during Walker’s foster care period.

We named this baby Walker because he was “walking dead” when he came into our care. Walker thrived and our little pirate grew and grew. I found a small-dog carrying bag and he would crawl into his little safe place and travel back and forth to work with me every day.
In late December, I knew it was time to let him go so I contacted Heather at Road Trip Home Animal Rescue. She even thanked me for trusting him with her, so that helped me cut the strings even though many tears were shed by all of us at the shelter when he left our care.
Walker started his great adventure on a Tuesday morning and traveled to the Atlanta area where he spent two weeks with Heather. She bragged on what a great little pup he was and how he easily fit into her family. In early January he made the long trip to our rescue partner in Maine.
On Jan. 20 I received an email from John Mehler, telling me he had been looking for some time for the perfect puppy for his family and happened to check the Animal Welfare Society web site and Walker was going to be available for adoption the next day. He arrived at the shelter are 3:30 a.m. so he would be the first to meet our special boy. John said that by the time he was taken into the room to meet him, the lobby was filled with visitors all there to meet our one-eyed pup. Of course, it was love at first sight and Walker had found his new home.
Since his adoption, Walker has become quite the celebrity. He and his dad were guests at the Planet Dog Ball in Maine; he has been featured on the PetSmart Charities Facebook and Instagram page; and was the star of the Animal Welfare Society Strut Your Mutt promotional materials! He is well loved, pampered, and a great “spokesdog” for all the abandoned and forgotten shelter dogs out there. Walker is living the life he was always meant to live.
To coin a phrase, “it takes a village” to change the world. The staff at the Sumter Humane Society started Walker on his journey, and with the help of Road Trip Home, Animal Welfare Society, and a compassionate man who took a chance on a one-eyed pup, we changed the world for Walker — just like we change the world for over 700 dogs and cats every year — one pet at a time.