Moose, a rescue dog from the island of St. John became an overnight celebrity this summer after the 4-and-a-half-year-old’s mug popped up on Facebook.
The various messages, shared hundreds of times each, were calls for a family willing to take him in after he spent 1,628 days in a shelter in the U.S. Virgin Islands without being adopted.
“It’s time for Moose to find Love,” a Facebook fan page declared in August.
Now, after a several-months saga that has played out in front of a big audience online, Moose is on the way to a new home in East Bridgewater thanks to a Boston group called Last Hope K-9 Rescue, which offered to lend its services in helping place the dog last year.
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The widespread attention to Moose’s cause helped make the connection, and came as a welcome surprise to the Caribbean no-kill shelter.
“It sort of caught us off guard. It’s taken off on a world of its own,” said Ryan Moore, shelter manager for Saint John’s Animal Care Center.
Moose arrived by plane this weekend and was being held for a mandatory quarantine at the Boston shelter. His new family planned to pick him up on Tuesday.
"My family and I are beyond excited to be bringing Moose into our home,” said Christine Burke, Moose’s new owner, in a statement. The Burke family was not taking media requests on Monday, Moore said.
It’s been quite the journey for the much-celebrated pup, Moore told Metro.
To get from the Caribbean to New England, Moore said he accompanied Moose on a trip via private jet with a vacationing family back home to upstate New York.
Then the jet-owners, the Riggi family of Albany — who are ACC donors and have adopted animals from the shelter in the past — paid to shuttle the human-canine pair in a stretch limousine to Worcester, Moore said.
The trip didn’t end there. Mid-drive, the limo found itself stuck because of slippery conditions, he said. A man in a passing SUV helped get the vehicle back on the road, then accompanied them to Worcester.
Moose is just one of many animals taken off the streets on the small island territory in the Caribbean Sea, Moore said. Rescuers have trouble placing rescued dogs and cats there due to a lack of suitable homes nearby, so the donor-supported shelter looks to families willing to adopt on the mainland. All the attention Moose and his unusual adventure have received is sure to help in that effort.
“I think all this news stuff has been good. We’re a really small organization but we have big plans,” Moore said. “Down there the homes they need are just not available, so it’s pretty humbling that people are going out of their way to put these dogs in homes.”
Also to come out of this journey: this video of the tropical Moose experiencing snow for the first time.