01/19/2012 at 09:00 AM EST
This is the face of a dog that would have been put down. Luckily for him, his charm proved irresistible.
The former stray, a 2-year-old American bulldog mix, had been put on the euthanization list at Georgia's Clayton County Animal Control. His day came two weeks ago, but a shelter staffer saw the dog "sitting nicely," awaiting his turn.
"The volunteer started giving other commands and the dog started doing them," says Hannah Wildner
, who photographs adoptable shelter pets. "Because the dog was being so cute, they didn't have the heart to euth him."
In spite of his sweet demeanor, the pooch didn't have much of a choice, and was taken to be euthanized a second time. He had been sedated, but continued to perform tricks for the shelter volunteers, and they spared his life a second time.
Wildner heard about the dog's remarkable story and shared the tale on Facebook, where hundreds of concerned users mobilized an effort to remove the dog from the shelter. The day before he was scheduled for a third time to be euthanized, the dog, now named Tricks, was taken from the shelter and straight to the vet.
Tricks has since been neutered, vaccinated, and has started heartworm treatment, but he is almost ready to be adopted. Due to the interest generated on Facebook, Wildner says she already has offers, but hopes to find the right home for Tricks in the Atlanta area.
If you are interested in helping Tricks, whether it's donating, fostering or adopting him, contact Hannah Wildner at email@example.com.