MAYFIELD - To look at him, one would never know Chase, an approximately 2 year old collie mix, was ever close to death.
Yet this lively dog, who Wednesday was enjoying sunning himself in the home of David and Laurie Agee, was once close to being euthanized.
"We understand the need to adopt dogs," David said. "There are a lot of good dogs out there."
Chase, front, a dog adopted by David and
Laurie Agee of Mayfield, is shown fetching a stick along with the couple’s other dog, Gus, near the Great Sacandaga Lake in this undated photograph.
Chase not only became a new companion for the Agees, his adoption will end up getting them on TV. That is something both of them said they never expected.
Their search for a new dog began after one of their dogs - a mixed-breed named Gracie - died on April 22, 2009.
The eight-year-old Gracie had been with the Agees since she was a puppy. Her death not only affected the Agees, they said it also affected their black Labrador Retriever, Gus.
Within a couple of months of Gracie's death, the couple decided they could use another dog not only as a companion, but to keep Gus company as well.
Finding a pet
Laurie said she went online to Petfinder - www.petfinder.com - to look for a new dog. She preferred that to going to shelters, she said, because whenever she goes she wants to walk out with a dog right away.
"I find shelters heartbreaking," she said.
Laurie said the couple wanted to get a rescued dog to bring back to their home on Woodland Avenue. She found a couple pictures on the website showing recently rescued dogs. Laurie filled out the application for the dogs, which she described as extensive.
"They wanted to talk to our vet, [wanted to know] why we wanted the dog, if the dog would move with us if we moved," she said, which was just a small amount of the information desired.
However, within a couple of days she got a response from Shelly Bookwalter.
According to a news release from the Animal Planet TV channel, Bookwalter devotes both time and money to saving stray and unclaimed shelter dogs. She finds homes for close to 650 rescued dogs every year, the release said.
After discussing the situation, Bookwalter and Laurie agreed the best dog for the Agees would be a collie-mix named M&M.
To get the dog, about $275 went to Bookwalter's operation, and another $150 went to pay from transporting the dog to them.
Laurie said considering the dog had all of its medical needs - such as vaccinations and neutering - taken care of and was being transported to them from Mississippi, the cost was more than fair.
David said a couple of days after Bookwalter and Laurie's conversation, a producer with Al Roker Entertainment called and asked if the couple wanted to be interviewed. A pilot episode for a TV show that dealt with Bookwalter's efforts was being filmed, David said, and one of the dogs they were following was M&M.
About a week later, a camera crew was at their home on the Great Sacandaga Lake. There was also a film crew getting footage of them on July 11, when they finally got to pickup M&M.
On the Chase
The Agees said they went down to Orange County to pick up M&M, who was being brought up along with a bunch of other dogs by Kyle Peterson.
According to the news release, Peterson works with Bookwalter and her volunteers to pickup adopted dogs and transport them to their new homes.
M&M was an instant hit, the Agees said.
"[M&M] and Gus bonded quickly," she said. "Gus taught him how to swim and they played fetch together."
Only one thing needed to be changed - M&M's name.
After soliciting ideas from friends and family online via Facebook, the Agees settled on Chase.
David said it is an appropriate moniker.
"He's like a bullet," he said, describing the dog's speed.
Camera crews also came to film Chase once he was settled into his new home.
According to the release, Bookwalter, Peterson and a network of volunteers trying to save dogs from dying in shelters will be the focus of a TV show titled "Last Chance Highway."
"In many southern states where spay-and-neuter laws aren't readily enforced and tough economic times are forcing many people to choose between caring for themselves or their pets, the number of stray and abandoned dogs is soaring," a news release said. "Shelters plagued by overcrowding and a lack of resources are unable to provide these animals with one crucial thing: time."
The series - which follows Bookwalter, Peterson, and the volunteers as they work to find and transport rescued dogs to new homes - will premiere at 8 p.m. June 19 on Animal Planet.
The episode showing Chase and the Agees is expected to air sometime in August, according to an e-mail from Melissa Berry, a publicity manager for Animal Planet.
"[Bookwalter and Peterson] are fabulous," David said. "We are very happy."
The Agees are actually considering getting another dog.
Gus, their 12-year-old Labrador Retriever, died a few weeks ago.
While no dog will ever be able to replace Gus, Laurie said, Chase needs a companion.
The Agees said Chase has been visibly depressed since Gus died. Chase would run to Gus for comfort when firecrackers and thunder scared him, they said.
While they are hoping to find another Labrador Retriever, they plan on it being a rescued dog.
They agreed that giving a home to a dog that needs one, makes both of them feel good.
For more information, visit the Animal Planet website at animal.discovery.com/