In a video that has been viewed over 16 million times, a couple drives hours to save a dog who is about to be put down.
After sharing the newest member of his and his husband’s family: an Australian Shepherd that originally belonged to his grandfather, a TikToker has grabbed the hearts of viewers. One video in particular, depicting the dog’s rescue, has racked up over 16 million views and 3 million likes on the app.
In the video, Ashton—who goes by the Instagram handle @repulsivelyflamboyant—explains how his grandfather died with COVID-19. He and his husband “found out he had a puppy” that was “going to be put down” not long after. The incident highlights an often-overlooked component of the pandemic: the pets abandoned by their owners when they grow extremely ill or die. “Pet owners who have died of the virus have left behind dogs, guinea pigs, and cats, at least one of which starved to death before anybody had checked the owner’s apartment,” according to a New York Times report from the early months of the pandemic. COVID-19 has compelled pet owners around the country to ponder what might happen to their beloved pets if they develop a severe case of the virus.
The two “drove across the state to go rescue him” after learning about his grandfather’s dog and his plans to put him down.
According to The Dodo, Ashton and his grandfather had lost contact over the years, but that didn’t stop him from traveling three hours to fetch the puppy.
“We had just started [to]foster and were about to start volunteering at PAWS to try and find a new friend,” Ashton told The Dodo. “It wasn’t a question we would adopt him—my husband had wanted a dog for a while, and we had just started [to]foster and were about to start volunteering at PAWS to try and find a new friend.” “Before buying my business, I spent most of my adult life working largely in animal activism, so there was no way I was letting him be put down.” “He is an Australian Shepherd who is quite overweight,” Ashton stated in the popular video, “but we don’t know anything about his background.” The dog was shown strolling on a leash and sitting in his new home on video. “Sweet boy, welcome home! Now is the moment to make a diet [and]activity modification as soon as possible.” The story moved viewers, and they quickly became invested in the dog. This is a condensed version of the information.