Quentin has appeared alongside such celebrities as Mary Tyler Moore and Pierce Brosnan.
Now famous in his own right, the mutt, who defied death in a St. Louis gas chamber, will bring a message of animal welfare during appearances across the country.
The reddish-brown Basenji mix had been slated to die along with six other dogs in the public animal shelter in August 2003. When shelter worker Rosemary Ficken opened the gas chamber’s door, she was shocked to see the dog still alive – a first in the 60-plus-year history of the shelter.
Ficken called Randy Grim, the founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis, who quickly adopted and named the dog for California’s San Quentin prison. Through Grim and Quentin’s efforts, the St. Louis gas chamber was permanently shuttered in 2005.
Grim has written a book called “Miracle Dog: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row,” and hopes to shed light on the euthanasia practice, which dates to World War II.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers carbon monoxide gassing acceptable when done properly, and many states, including Texas and Virginia, still embrace the practice. Thirteen states, including California, New York, and Florida, require animal shelters to euthanize through a lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital.
Still, Grim calls the gas chamber “America’s dirty little secret,” and plans to lobby and raise money to put an end to the practice.
To learn more about Quentin and Grim, including their upcoming appearances, visit http://www.strayrescue.org/