Nearly a month ago, Bill Foundation's Annie Hart and her husband, James, rescued four puppies from a young homeless man who was keeping them in a sealed Tupperware bin. Since then, Luke, Elliot, Raven, and Logan—aptly named after X-men characters due to the “superhero” nature of the story—have become fuzzy celebs in their own right: their plight was picked up by a slew of media outlets including Huffington Post, Yahoo!, CBS and MSN (and us). Zooey Deschanel even did her part by retweeting the story. So where are the Xavier pups now? For starters, they’re on this supercute live Webcam. We caught up with Hart to get the rest of the update.
How are people responding to your rescue of the Xavier puppies?
It’s puppy madness! This story just isn’t going away—Cesar Milan Tweeted and posted it on Facebook today, actually. We had no idea when we wrote the article that it’d be anything more than a story on Dogster, but here we are, weeks later, getting new calls and coverage every day.
Has anyone offered to adopt them?
We’ve gotten a half a dozen or a dozen applications, and we’re going to start considering them next week. Because the story has gotten national attention, we’ve gotten applications from as far away as Malaysia! Typically, though, the vast majority of our placements happen in L.A. because there are enough amazing adopters here.
How are they holding up now that things have settled down?
The littlest one, Luke, wasn’t doing well when we rescued him. It turns out he has a liver shunt, meaning his liver doesn’t filter out toxins. Because of that, he needs surgery— but he can’t have surgery until he gets bigger. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get bigger because he doesn’t like to eat. He has an amazing foster mom who feeds him a few tablespoons of food every two to three hours. In the last few weeks, he’s put on two ounces, so it’s an uphill climb! It’s miraculous, though, because he wouldn’t have survived otherwise.
Do all of the puppies have a foster mom?
They’re all with the same foster mom, actually, and you can see them on a live puppy cam that runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are breaks, of course, so she can work with them and have them socialize, but it’s gotten about 190,000 views from people watching all over the world.
How has this story affected Bill Foundation?
It’s been great for raising awareness of what we do. We’ve had a very hard summer, as most pet adoptions business do in L.A., but this story had people coming in to look at dogs. They are saying, “Oh my goodness, look at the cute puppies you can get from a local adopter or shelter!” You can find these adorable kids everywhere. It’s helped us hugely because more applications have started to come in and it has beefed things up during an otherwise quiet season.
Are you worried you won’t be able to let the Xavier pups go?
I get attached to all of the dogs we rescue in L.A., but there’s nothing more exciting than seeing them to go off and have their happily ever after. We remain very close with our adopters, which helps; there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a letter or an email from an adopter keeping me updated. We also have what I call The Rescue Promise: I promise to love you and take care of you, til death to us part. If something happens with the adopter—they pass away, they lose their home—we will take the dog back and rehome it. This isn’t a churn and burn kind of thing.
Are you still accepting applications for the Xavier pups?
Absolutely. We’re accepting applications for all 54 of our dogs! Our process is a very long one, and we’re not first come first served because we want to play the best matchmaker we can. It goes from the application to a conversation where we address questions and concerns, and if [the adopters] seems like a good fit, we do a meet and greet and then a home visit. It’s very cute when adopters realize they’re going to become parents. They’re overjoyed.