Pets are Family, Not Property: Mervin

Did you know that under the law pets are seen as replaceable property? That’s right, the law essentially treats losing a pet the same way as losing a table. In honor of Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Loni Edwards’ beloved dog who passed away due to medical error, PetInsider will be featuring a story every Wednesday about pets being family, not property. Please join us by reading the stories and signing the pledge we created with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to push for change



I first met Mervin at the Adoption of the ASPCA in New York City. At the time, I was working for the ASPCA overseeing the adoption process for the shelter. The first time I saw him, he had been in a foster home and his foster period was over so he was back in a kennel and was not happy. I was walking past his kennel when I heard a little raspy bark, I looked in but only saw a blanket piled up, moving slightly with each bark. That was my first interaction with Mervin (Marvin at the time), just barking at no one in particular, seemingly to say “I am here, don’t forget about me but also leave me alone.” I brought Mervin home that day as a foster, which 2 days later turned into a formal adoption. Mervin made himself right at home and got along well with the 3 other dogs we had at the time, though he wasn’t crazy about our cat.



Over the next five years, Mervin would show the true resilient spirit of a shelter dog as he faced many difficult, and often life-threatening, health problems. While still in the shelter he had to have all of his teeth removed because they were rotten, and he both back knees repaired by an orthopedic surgeon. He later developed a hole in his palate that required surgery to fix, and soon after that developed a urinary blockage that ruptured his bladder and almost killed him. As if all of that wasn’t enough, we started noticing little growths on his head and eyelids so we brought him to a veterinary ophthalmologist who had to remove them and reconstruct his eyelid to save his eye. We had the growths biopsied and were devastated when the results came back as malignant melanoma. We immediately made an appointment with a veterinary oncologist and after some extensive ongoing (and expensive!) treatments, Mervin has been doing well after about a year. Mervin’s medical bills were so expensive we had to set up a GoFundMe because we couldn’t imagine not having him around, he is part of our family and is so much more than replaceable property as he is seen in the eyes of outdated laws.



Mervin’s health issues are undoubtedly because he was most likely was the product of the terrible and inhumane breeding practices of a puppy mill. Despite all of the struggles Mervin as endured, we made sure to continuously share his journey and show the world how amazing and strong he is. We believe this is one of the reasons his popularity soared, on top of being absolutely adorable. People from all over the world are inspired by his strength and cuteness and love him. We couldn’t imagine our lives without Mervin, and that’s because he is family – not property.


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Mervin the Chihuahua

Mervin the Chihuahua is an internationally known model, animal rights advocate, and yogurt connoisseur. Adopted by his 2 dads and living in NYC with his 3 rescue canine siblings.

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