A heartbreaking photo of a homeless dog clinging to a discarded teddy bear touched the hearts of the nation but also left animal lovers divided over the dog’s fate.
The stray dog was captured on camera asleep on the street with his head resting on the forgotten teddy bear.
Yvette Holzbach, the photographer wrote: “here is a stray dog taking comfort in a worn out, discarded toy. How many of the dogs that we see are also thrown out on the street once they have served their purpose?”
The image went viral as many were incredibly moved by this sad image and wanted to know what happened to the dog.
But while many people expressed their sympathy, others questioned why Yvette didn’t rescue the dog, instead of just taking a picture and walking away.
Her response highlights just how many homeless dogs there are in this particular area and the enormity of the issue nationally.
Finds forever homes
Yvette works with an organization called Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward, and devotes her time to rescuing homeless dogs in one of the most deprived areas of Houston, Texas.
She and her colleagues patrol the area, take pictures of abandoned dogs in attempt to find their owners, get them spayed or neutered, medical attention if needed and most importantly finds some of them foster or forever homes.
But the sheer number of homeless dogs on the street is too much for Yvette and her colleagues to cope with and it’s for this reason she posted the following response on Facebook to all those who criticized her.
“On one feeding route we can feed up to 50 stray dogs. Of those 50 dogs we are lucky if we are able to save one because the sad truth is, there are not enough foster homes to place these dogs into,” she wrote on the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward page.
Small group of volunteers
“It is the hardest thing in the world for us to leave dogs like his behind so please don’t judge us. We are a small group of volunteers who are just trying to do the very best we can with what we have.”
After the image was posted the dog, called Teddy, was recognized as one of many dogs local resident Mr Calvin had been feeding.
The 87-year-old had rescued many dogs off the streets over the years and at one time had as many as 20 in his back yard, according to Yvette.
“I hope that by posting the picture awareness has been raised to the plight of the street dog. We are facing an uphill battle and we can only hope that there will come a time when no dog will have to struggle to survive on the street.”
Yvette posted an update to this story last year with the sad announcement that animal hero Mr. Calvin passed away in 2018, but his generosity and kindness toward these needy dogs will never be forgotten thanks to Yvette and her team.
We need more people like Yvette in the world. Please share to show your support for the vital work she does to help our needy animals.