NUTLEY, N.J. — Wasn't it cats that were supposed to have nine lives?
Well, meet Daniel, the beagle mix that survived an Alabama dog pound's gas chamber and now has found a permanent home with a family in New Jersey.
Joe Dwyer, who, with his wife, Geralynn and daughter, Jenna, adopted Daniel last week, told the Newark Star-Ledger that the lucky pooch will be used to fight for laws outlawing gas chambers and will become a poster child for pet adoptions.
"He won’t be exploited," Dwyer, a 50-year-old motivational speaker and dog trainer, told the paper. "His life as a part of this family is paramount."
And he certainly won't be lonely. Daniel has four new friends, the Star-Ledger reported: the Dwyers’ other dogs, all rescues of various breeds.
The energetic mutt wags his tail and licks every human he meets, the paper said.
"He’s a happy, healthy guy," said Jenna Dwyer, 20, a student at Montclair State University. "I love him."
"He's in extremely good shape, especially in light of what he went through," Joe Dwyer said Wednesday after returning from a trip to the veterinarian. "His attitude is just incredible."
Daniel surprised workers at the Animal Control facility in Florence, Ala., on Oct. 3, the day he was supposed to be put down with several other animals in a stainless-steel box roughly the size of a pickup truck bed that was filled with carbon monoxide.
The other canines were killed by the fumes in the gas chamber, but Daniel walked out unharmed, and was eventually flown to New Jersey by Eleventh Hour Rescue, a nonprofit that saves dogs slated for euthanasia.
Welcomed by other pooches
The organization received more than 100 requests to adopt Daniel, its president said last month. Dwyer said he and his family had two "meet-and-greets" with Daniel before being approved for adoption.
Dwyer said Daniel has become fast friends with the Nutley family's other pooches — two dachshunds, a beagle mix and a pit bull mix.
"By Thursday evening they were all lying down together," he said. "It was wonderful to see."
The Dwyers told the Star Ledger that Daniel may become a therapy dog some day, but his mission for now is putting an end to animal gas chambers, which are legal in 31 states, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
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