A Three-Legged Dog from Iran Makes It to California for a New Home — And a Set of Wheels

Shadi launched a worldwide network of people and was adopted at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.


Editor’s note: Marie is the director of marketing, design, and social media for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

The amazing story of a dog named Shadi started three years ago in Iran, in a town called Kordaan, in the cold winter. Volunteers from animal rescue group Vafa Animal Shelter found a dog living outside. She had one short, malformed back leg, and another that was little more than a bone. She had a litter of puppies that she was nursing in the snow.

The volunteers brought her to the shelter, where the puppies were weaned and soon found adopters. But the mom, named Shadi, wasn’t so lucky. One kind woman was eager to adopt Shadi, but unfortunately, she took ill. There was no one else.

But Shadi was full of joy. She showered people with kisses, wiggling with joy when they showed her affection. The Vafa team knew she was too good to let languish and die.

San Jose resident and Vafa supporter Farah Ravon started an incredible chain of events, activating a worldwide network of people to help. Farah knew Shadi would have better luck in the United States. She found sponsors who paid for travel expenses, and Shadi went to a rescue group in Maryland.

But after several months, Shadi was still waiting for a home. Farah thought of Muttville and contacted Patty Stanton, a Muttville board member and volunteer. When Patty told Muttville founder and executive director Sherri Franklin about Shadi, Sherri was sure Muttville could help.

Shadi arrived in California, and Sherri enlisted the help of Shelah Barr of Happy Hounds Massage, who assessed Shadi’s situation and decided that what she needed was wheels.

Shelah contacted the staff members at Eddie’s Wheels, who have made mobility carts for some other of her clients.

“They worked very closely with us in getting the proper measurements,” says Shelah, “and have even reworked the cart to make it even more comfortable for her to use.”

Shelah also told Jaye Shissel about Shadi, and Jaye donated the funds for Shadi’s wheels.

“Shadi means ‘happy,’ I’m told,” says Jaye, “and that is our girl: a lovely, brave lady, come halfway across the world to teach us two-leggeds how it’s done.”

Shadi then got some Muttville foster parents, Charlotte and George, who cared for Shadi for two months.

“My husband and I had been thinking of fostering for Muttville after one of our dogs died,” says Charlotte. “As luck would have it, Shadi arrived at Muttville the very day we were ready. She needed a foster home pronto that had easy access to a yard, a patch of grass, and not many stairs. We had all that and more.”

“Shadi was easygoing and a joy to have around. She had a real appreciation of every little thing that we did for her and thanked us profusely with her frequent tail wags. Shadi had a big impact on us. We feel that she gave us a lot more than we gave her.”

And then along came Liz.

“When I saw Shadi’s face I fell in love,” she says. And so Liz became Shadi’s forever mom.

“Shadi is well behaved, mellowed out, beautiful, and capable,” says Liz. “The more I get to know her, the more her world-class personality comes out. I see that there is something special about her that made an international team of caring individuals fly her halfway around the world. I feel so lucky to get this special dog.”

Read more about Muttville and dogs on wheels:

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at [email protected].

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