Jessica Graaf and her husband were returning with two dogs they had just rescued from the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly). On their drive back, Graaf decided to check her email, and then, they suddenly wanted to drive back to the shelter right away.

Graaf had received an email from ACCT about a 10- year- old pit bull mix named Matilda, who was brought to the shelter only a couple of days ago. Graaf had seen her just a little while ago and had thought that anyone would adopt such a sweet pup.

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“I thought she would get scooped right up,” Graaf. Also the cofounder of Philly Bully Team said. “Honestly, she’s so cute, and she’s young, and she’s got these big old bat ears. I thought someone would take her immediately.”

However, the email said that Matilda was in grave danger, as she only had 48 hours before being euthanised.

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ACCT wrote, “Matilda is a spunky girl that came to ACCT as a stray. This little pupper is having a hard time adjusting to the kennel environment and has since developed a severe leash biting behavior. When you take Matilda out, she becomes over stimulated [to] the sights and sounds of the shelter. When she gets outside, Matilda begins to leash bite out of overexcitement. She can be redirected with treats.”

Graaf was surprised but understood the situation.

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“Overexcitement, leash biting … these are typical behaviours for a dog her age, especially if she was dumped at the shelter,” she said. “There’s a good chance she was never properly trained or socialised.”

Graaf also knew how over- crowdedACCT Philly was at this time of the year, which may be the reason Matilda was being put through euthanasia.

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“Summer is the worst time of year for shelters and rescues,” Graaf said. “We have a lot of owner surrenders. When people go on vacation, instead of finding accommodations for their dogs, often they’ll just dump them at the shelter. Adoptions are also down because people don’t want to commit to adopting a new pet when they have a vacation planned.”

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Graaf was urged to help the dog.

She said, “I asked my husband, ‘Do you want to go get her now?’ And he said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ So we just turned around, and went back and got her.”

Graaf realised how relieved Matilda seemed to be after they loaded her in the car. She looked like she knew she was safe.

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“She was smiling — you couldn’t deny it,” she said. “It was the coolest thing ever.”

She immediately knew she was a very affectionate and snuggly dog who loves people.

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“All she wants to do is be right by your side,” said Graaf. “She’s very snuggly. When we got her home … she was sleeping on me on the couch. She was probably so exhausted from being in that [shelter] environment, and she had a really long day.”

After waking up, Matilda showed her new parents her playful, energetic side.

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“She’s learning fetch, and she knows how to sit,” Graaf said. “She comes when you call her, and she already knows her name. She could use some basic training classes, but she’s a very lovely dog.”

Matilda’s rescuers are looking for a family ready to foster and adopt her as soon as possible.

Graaf Said, “With her energy, I think she would love a home with another dog and a really active family.”

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