French bulldog goes from homeless to home

Pawrie the French bulldog on a Home Sweet Home doormat
Pawrie the Frenchie came from a shelter to Best Friends with multiple medical issues, but a loving foster family helped him on his way to a new life.
By Karen Asp

Perhaps because French bulldogs top the list of the most popular dog breeds in 2023, largely due to their adorable faces, they’re starting to turn up in animal shelters in higher numbers.

“Many of them are coming in with medical conditions, whether from congenital issues or lack of care,” says Ana Pulido, Best Friends senior coordinator of lifesaving outcomes in Los Angeles.

Pawrie is one of them. When this 7-year-old came to the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center from a shelter in Los Angeles, he had multiple medical issues. Our goal at Best Friends is for all shelters to reach no-kill by 2025, and taking in pets like Pawrie is one of the ways we support our partners in saving lives.

Pawrie was easygoing, and his adorable face made him instantly lovable. But he needed a whole team of people to get him healthy and on the road to a fresh start in a new home.

Little dog battles numerous health woes

The Best Friends veterinary team determined that Pawrie was battling ear, skin, and upper respiratory infections. He also had a head tilt and swallowing difficulties, which made them suspect he might have neurological issues, possibly even a brain tumor.

[Wrinkly dog gets comfortable in her own skin]

Those medical issues prompted Ana to look for a foster home for Pawrie. “With medical and possible neurologic issues, we prioritized him for a foster home,” she says. The hope was that while Pawrie was recovering from his infections in a relaxing environment, the foster family could gather information about his neurological symptoms, personality, and needs to better match him with an adoptive home.

First-time foster caregivers offer high-level pampering

Quintin Gabler and Ricky Muniz had recently signed up to foster with Best Friends. Quintin wanted a dog, but Ricky was hesitant about the long-term commitment. So fostering was the testing ground. “It was the perfect opportunity for Ricky to learn if he liked having a dog,” Quintin says. (Spoiler alert: He did.)

Their landlord required that they only foster a small dog, so when Best Friends reached out about a little Frenchie named Pawrie, the two said yes. “We were initially cautious about fostering a dog with multiple medical needs, but we immediately fell in love with Pawrie,” Quintin says. “He warmed up quickly to us and seemed to just want love and attention.”

Initially, Pawrie required multiple antibiotics and a topical skin treatment. Fortunately, his infections improved within a matter of weeks. The Best Friends veterinary team also determined that the neurological issues most likely stemmed from nerve damage from injury or infection, and they might never completely resolve. But as one Best Friends veterinarian noted, the head tilt and drooling simply give Pawrie extra character. And the drooling can be managed by regularly wiping his nose and mouth.

[Abandoned to loved: Sibling dogs with neurological issues find joy every day]

The biggest job? Providing him with lots of snuggles and cuddles. And so for the next two months, Quintin and Ricky did just that, learning all they could about him at the same time. “He loved to spend time with people and lie fully on the floor, picking places with the most foot traffic,” Quintin says. They also took him for walks, and Pawrie let his extrovert self out, giving everybody along the way an enthusiastic greeting.

Love at first sight

As Pawrie’s health improved and he was ready for adoption, there happened to be someone looking for a dog just like him. Erik Keeling-Torrez was searching for dogs to adopt when he came across Pawrie’s profile on the Best Friends website. “His adorable pictures and older age drew me in at first glance,” says Erik, who already had dogs and a cat with his partner. “I’ve always wanted a French bulldog, and I felt it was my time — and no better way to do it than adopt.”

Erik arranged to meet Pawrie as well as his foster caregivers at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center. The connection was immediate. “The minute I went into the adoption room, Pawrie jumped on me and gave me kisses,” Erik says. He adopted him that day, Quintin and Ricky debriefing him on all things Pawrie.

Today, Pawrie (who now goes by Francois) is Erik’s shadow. “He’s attached to me at the hip and follows me everywhere,” he says. “He’s the Ewok I never had but always wanted, and he’s the sweetest, most adorable, loving, playful, and loyal little stinky-cuddly teddy bear anyone would want.” Erik especially loves how Pawrie looks at him. He tilts his head and gives an infatuated look out of the corner of his eyes, all the while snorting and grunting to express his happiness.

This story doesn’t only have a happy ending for Pawrie but also the humans involved. His foster caregivers and new family have since become friends, all thanks to one adorable Frenchie.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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