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SC puppy cheats death, competes at Westminster, models Petsmart life vests

Who would ever have thought this sad little brindle and white puppy, left for dead in an apartment, found by the landlord and turned into a kill shelter in Gaffney, S.C. would a few years later be a fashion model and one of only fifteen mix-breed dogs competing at the famed Westminster Dog Show?

This sad little brindle and white puppy didn't have much of a chance at life; first left for dead in an apartment, then found by the landlord and turned into a kill shelter in Gaffney, S.C.
Gaffney Humane Society
This sad little brindle and white puppy, left for dead in an apartment, turned into a kill shelter in Gaffney, S.C. grew up to be a fashion model and to compete at Westminster
Petsmart, White House Black Market, Gaffney Humane Society

How ironic is it that the same puppy grew up to model dog life vests for Petsmart?

In the world of rescue, there are many surprises, yet most involved in rescue know not to be surprised by the wonders these pets have to offer. Christy Wrede, who rescued and adopted this puppy, certainly knows how wonderful a rescue dog can be!

Life started out pretty rough for Emma when her owners left her locked in an apartment when they moved out. No one really knows how long the puppy was on its own without food, water, or human companionship. Emma’s first real break came when the landlord found her. But her life was at risk again almost immediately because the shelter in Gaffney S.C. where she was taken was a high-kill shelter and few dogs in 2010 left alive.

Emma, who was known then as Tripper, caught the eye of the Gaffney Humane Society, who sent her photo out to its email list of rescues pleading for someone to save her.

Christy Wrede of LuvFurEver Animal Rescue in New Jersey saw the email and was immediately drawn to the beautiful puppy that looked so much like her own dog, Logan. Wrede had been rescuing dogs from the rural South Carolina shelter and was planning to bring another group to New Jersey, where strict spay neuter laws have resulted in a shortage of puppies.

With her fellow rescuers betting that she would adopt Tripper, Wrede decided to bring Tripper to New Jersey to find her a home. Tripper was transported to New Jersey on the weekend of December 4, 2010 on a volunteer transport organized by Erin Silks, who has coordinated so many rescue transports. In fact, the run sheet coordinating the transport is still visible on the internet!

Tripper was starting to seem more of a cat than a dog considering the number of chances at life she was getting!

It didn’t take long for Tripper to steal Wrede’s heart, and soon Tripper became Emma. Wrede started taking the dog to basic puppy obedience classes, and then Emma started agility training. She’s been competing in agility competitions for a year and a half, and was one of only fifteen mixed breeds selected to compete at Westminster.

In the meantime, Emma wasn’t sitting around resting on her laurels. Her new sibling and look-alike, Logan, was a successful pet model, and when Wrede suggested that the agency audition Emma, they fell in love with her too.
Among the companies Emma has modeled for are Petsmart and White House Black Market.

There’s something quite ironic about a puppy that cheated death so many times being the model on the packaging for a Petsmart life jacket for dogs!

Meanwhile, between agility competitions and photo shoots, Wrede continues on her campaign to save puppies and dogs. She has rescued over 180 dogs and puppies to date from the shelter in Gaffney.

Not all rescue dogs are going to end up on the catwalk, modeling for top names in retail and fashion. But every rescued pet has something to contribute, and who is to say that being a faithful companion isn’t every bit as important as having a career in modeling.

Emma is yet another example of how far homeless pets can go if they are just given the opportunity. It would have been a shame if Emma’s life had been snuffed out in a kill-shelter. There are many reports of rescued pets who have gone on to do great things, from starring in films, to saving their owners. Every single life snuffed out in a kill-shelter is a shame. Who knows what those lives could have become. Who knows whose lives would have been changed bu those pets?

Contact a rescue and help save one of those lives today.

In the New Jersey area, Luv4Ever Animal Rescue can be contacted at

In South Carolina, please contact your local shelter or rescue.

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