An orphaned Chihuahua has captured the hearts of animal lovers across the country after he was pictured behind bars at an animal shelter in California with his paws placed in a prayer position, ‘begging’ someone to rescue him and take him home.
In a series of striking images captured by Los Angeles-based photographer John Hwang, the unnamed pooch is standing on his hind legs in a basic enclosure, his nose pressed up against the chain fence surrounding him, with his paws placed together in a prayer position.
‘Up and down, up and down, he shook his paws towards anyone that came by, as if pleading, begging for his freedom,’ Mr. Hwang wrote on his Facebook page, while sharing the images.
Begging for a home: This Chihuahua was pictured ‘praying’ in his kennel enclosure after being picked up by an animal control officer
‘In his concrete confinement he paced back and forth restlessly. He squeezed his face through the fence, taking in a deep breath of the vibrant world that he can no longer be a part of.’
It was Mr Hwang’s friend, Rose Gallardo, who first alerted the photographer to the plight of the poor pooch, after she helped an animal control officer to rescue him from a McDonald’s parking lot in Los Angeles.
He was, she told the Huffington Post, doing a good job of evading capture, noting that he was ‘too smart and kept running through the parking lot’ and out of the officer’s grasp.
Worried that the tiny puppy would run in front of a moving car however, Ms Gallardo stepped in to help capture the frightened animal, stopping her car near to the Chihuahua and allowing it to approach her, before she picked him up and handed him over to the officer.
Keeping the faith: Photographer John Hwang took the moving images at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter in Los Angeles earlier this month
Hopeful: ‘Up and down, up and down, he shook his paws towards anyone that came by, as if pleading, begging for his freedom,’ Mr. Hwang said of the dog’s behaviour
‘The officer was amazed at how submissive the dog was towards me,’ she said of the incident, describing the adorable dog was ‘the sweetest precious baby’.
Eager to do more to try and help the small animal find a home, she shared his story on her Facebook page, and also alerted Mr. Hwang, who lives near the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter, where the dog had been taken, and where he frequently visits to take images of orphaned animals in need of a home, in the hopes that by sharing the pictures on his Facebook page, he might help them to find a loving family.
‘I just do it for the love of dogs,’ he explained to the Huffington Post, adding that he has rescued four dogs in the past.
But this particular photography subject proved to be so much more special than Mr. Hwang could ever have expected, with the photographer admitting he was stunned when the pooch stood up on his hind legs while he was taking pictures, and then proceeded to almost clasp his hands together in prayer over and over again.
Moving on: Thankfully, the unnamed animal has been rescued from the shelter by a non-profit organization called Doggy Smiles Rescue
And far from being a one-off occurrence, the Los Angeles resident revealed that the dog kept repeating the action over and over, noting that he would ‘pace back and forth in the kennel’ and then return to the front of his enclosure to ‘beg’ once again.
Unsurprisingly, the striking images immediately struck a chord with animal lovers, and the praying pooch has since been rescued by a non-profit organization called Doggy Smiles Rescue, which works to rescue dogs from high-kill shelters and provide them with a loving home, while helping them to find a permanent family to live with.
The organization shared an image of the dog on its Facebook page on January 12, where dozens of people have quickly sent in offers to adopt the puppy.
‘I really want to adopt this boy… I can give him a great home,’ one woman wrote. ‘I was so sleepless [worrying] about him at the shelter.’