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Forlorn pit bull out of time at high-kill shelter adopted by loving family

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Her left ear always stands up - perhaps from listening for so long. Listening, waiting, hoping: Would today be the day she was rescued?

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Finally, after months at a high-kill shelter, time was up for the sweet little pit bull. But the shelter workers who loved her weren't willing to give up on her - not on this wonderful dog who was a staff and volunteer favorite.

They sent out one more impassioned plea: Save this loving dog. Give her a home. A family. A chance.

And from miles and miles away, a family who had just lost their own beloved pit bull saw the shelter's plea for help on Facebook. They saw the golden dog with a partridge-shaped splash of cream on her face and they knew they had to help her. Their family would be whole again with this sweet dog that they'd never even met.

"She popped up on my Facebook and I fell in love with her face, but she was so far away and we had just lost Georgie and were still completely heartbroken, so I shared and moved on," explained Shannon Wallin. "She was at a high-kill shelter in Los Angeles and her time was running out. She had miraculously been there since April. She was obviously a favorite, because pit bulls do not last even close to that long in those shelters."

But later, Shannon saw that beautiful face again. "She popped up again and I realized no one was stepping up - so we decided to. I had no idea how to go about it. I contacted No Kill Lane County here in Eugene in hopes they could help."

The Wallin Family sent out their own impassioned pleas: who can help us save this dog? How can we get her from this high-kill shelter in Los Angeles to our home in Eugene, Oregon? The Wallins, who beautifully memorialized their dog, Georgie, weren't going to give up until the forlorn looking pit bull had made it safely to their home.

No Kill of Eugene answered the Wallins' call immediately. "They jumped into action and got in touch with some contacts down in Los Angeles. The next thing I know, I get a phone call from Judith Buckner-Lungstrum, who wanted to make sure we were committed - and we were! She was able to get her out of the shelter, board her for a few nights, and arrange transport to Eugene.

"She was driven up with dozens of other rescues on their way to join new families or a second chance at rescues. She arrived in Eugene at 4:00 a.m. and wiggled her way right into our hearts."

Shannon and Jason Wallin have long worked in the field of animal advocacy. They met at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Ellensburg, Washington, and both earned Master's degrees at Central Washington University. It was in Ellensburg where their family - including adopted dog Georgie and daughters Adelaide and Linnea - was born. After Jason was accepted into a PhD program at the University of Oregon, the family - complete with three cats and beloved pit bull Georgie - relocated to Eugene. After Georgie passed away early this summer, their family was devastated.

But Maggie May, as she's now known, hopes to help her new family heal. She has some big paw prints to fill, but she's up to the task.

"All we knew of Maggie was a head shot on a website," explained Jason Wallin. "We had no idea what to expect. We didn't expect her to be mostly head, for instance. She has these short little legs, a tubby little body, and this giant pit face. She's about 90% head," he said with a laugh.

"She burst onto the scene at the Wallin household. She raced, spun, leapt, danced, and wiggled around the house. No one should have that energy at 4:00 in the morning. No one. Especially after traveling all day long. Despite all she's been through the last few months - and who knows what happened to her before that - she seems to be a fiery lover of life," Jason stated.

"After about 45 minutes of introductions, we were all ready for a little more shuteye. Georgie always slept between Shannon and I. Every night we were all together; it was always a Georgie sandwich. Sometimes, she'd start out down by our feet; by morning, her head was usually on the pillows. But, she was always there between us.

"When Georgie passed away, Shannon and I actually got to spoon, to sleep next to one another. We discussed a couple of times that someday - we thought someday well down the road - when we took in another dog, we'd love to have her sleep in our room, but on a dog bed on the floor, rather than on our bed with us. Maggie arrived home at about 4:00. By 5:15, we were in bed, the dog between us. She's started at our feet - we'll see how long she takes to creep up to the pillows."

But she's already found her way to their hearts. Jason added: "Maggie has found a home. And we are overjoyed to have found a new friend."

And that left ear? It continues to stubbornly stand straight up, but now, it's listening to the sound of laughter, love, and belonging. The sounds of family.

Sharing stories truly does make a difference - as Maggie May can attest! If you would like to continue receiving breaking news and information about pets in Seattle and beyond, please click "subscribe" near the top of the article.

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