Penny — Shelter

Location: Freeburg, Illinois

I would like to nominate my dog, Penny, for the Shelter Dog Award. Penny was born with a severe overbite and a uniquely formed front paw. Discovered as a stray in California, she was soon taken to a high kill shelter where no one wanted to adopt Penny because of her looks.
I discovered Penny on She looked absolutely terrified and clung to each shelter volunteer. My heart broke as I watched a video of Penny waving her unique front paw as she tried to capture the attention of potential adopters without success. In that moment, I knew that Penny belonged with my furry family.
My husband and I foolishly thought that Penny would need help because of her special leg. The first day we met her, she proceeded to jump onto our couch. Penny later went on to scale our three-foot pet gate! She completely shattered our misconceptions about differently-abled pets.
I published a children’s picture book entitled Priceless Penny that chronicles her amazing adoption journey from California to Illinois. Penny and I volunteer at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri where we co-teach the humane education class to girl/boy scout groups and birthday parties. We also volunteer with Stray Rescue St. Louis and their at-risk youth program. Penny’s story carries that message that “different is beautiful.” Children love to interact with Penny and are amazed at all of the things this spunky tripawd can do.
Penny continues to be an inspirational shelter dog.

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