Nelson the Shar Pei, Boston's now-famous rescue pup, has a new home — and a new best friend named Mugsy.
Nelson came to the MSPCA after a harrowing journey to Massachusetts from a so-called "puppy mill" in Missouri earlier this year. He had been critically ill with an intestinal illness, and the Boston animal shelter and outpost of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been nursing the dog back to health ever since.
The goal was to find Nelson a home for Christmas, and that effort went viral this holiday season. More than 1,000 people reached out to the MSPCA about the little guy, and about 50 submitted adoption applications or did "meet and greets" with him, according to Rob Halpin, a spokesman for the shelter.
Now, Nelson is headed to a new home, with Chuck Rees and Kayla Penney of Saugus.
The couple already own a Shar Pei of their own. Their 2-year-old, Mugsy, was also a patient at the MSPCA's Angell Animal Medical Center — after nearly a month in the hospital's care in 2013, he recovered from a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection.
Rees, who took Nelson home Wednesday, told Metro he feels uniquely up to the challenge of meeting Nelson's needs.
"It takes a lot of patience, because if you're willing to fight for them, they'll show you they're willing to fight and I saw that in Nelson as well," Rees said. "He's ready to fight."
When the two pups met for the first time in JP, Halpin said, "it was love at first sight."
Nelson's 15 minutes of fame have had a big impact on the Jamaica Plain shelter, Halpin said in an email.
"The MSPCA is profoundly grateful to everyone who shared Nelson’s story on social media and expressed interest in him," he said. "Often in these scenarios the increased foot traffic to the adoption center means other dogs — and cats and rabbits — are adopted by folks who came in hoping for Nelson but still left with a new four-legged friend."