In honor of Sparky, the beloved MUTTS character formerly known as Guard Dog, we're sharing happy stories about real-life "guard dogs." This story about a pup named Felix comes from our friend Shan Phillips, a Field Outreach Worker for PETA’s Community Animal Project.
By Shan Phillips
The long-suffering “backyard dogs” that PETA’s fieldworkers help are often deprived of many things — companionship, veterinary care, exercise, and respect, to name a few. It’s often difficult to persuade their owners that these individuals have complex needs. But the one thing everyone should know is an absolute necessity — non-negotiable, no questions — is at least one square meal every day. But for countless dogs like Felix, dinner doesn’t always arrive.
This small and spunky Shiba Inu mix was tethered outdoors 24/7 on a property in North Carolina, and his PETA friends frequently found him shivering in the cold rain or hopping around frantically, desperate for the slightest bit of attention and often something — anything — to eat. On a recent visit to the property, PETA fieldworkers saw that he was ravenous and extremely thin. They had a heart-to-heart with his owners, who agreed to give him up for a chance at adoption by a guardian who would care for him properly.
Field outreach worker Shan Phillips with Felix on the day of his rescue
This five-year-old pup was finally freed, after years of living on a chain, in October 2023. Felix blossomed while in foster care, gaining both weight and confidence, and quickly found a loving home.
Felix at his foster home
We recently received the following update from his forever family:
“Felix now has two big sisters named Mavis and Dottie. He wrestles and plays with them all day. Even though they’re more than twice his size, he has no trouble keeping up with them. He makes up for his size with his explosive energy by constantly running circles around them and bounding over their heads. It’s quite a sight to behold.
“He loves his big new yard. It seems like he picks a new section to sniff and explore every time we take him outside. He loves car rides. He’s still learning what is and isn’t a toy. For example, we used to set our hamper of clean laundry on our bed to put away later, but now we do it immediately because Felix thinks all of the socks are his toys to take as he pleases. We’re still finding socks stuffed in the nooks and crannies of his dog bed.”
Felix with his new adoptive parents and siblings
Felix’s friends at PETA are incredibly happy to know that he will bring in the new year indoors, and will never see a chain again.
To learn more about MUTTS' own Guard Dog and the plight of chained dogs, visit MUTTS.com/GuardDog.