Dr. Papidies, a long-haired Chihuahua, was named the cutest dog in America. Now he’s the country’s most altruistic dog, donating his winnings to homeless cats and dogs.
Leslie Capin is no different from most dog owners — she thinks that her pooch, a long-haired Chihuahua, is the cutest dog ever. So the Colorado dermatologist entered the 9-pounder, named Dr. Papidies, into the All American Pet Brands’ Cutest Dog Competition. All along, Capin claimed that if Dr. Papidies won the $1 million top prize, she would split the earnings between two Denver shelters.
That altruistic spirit — and a hefty dose of cuteness —worked. Dr. Papidies, wearing a red jacket and red-rimmed sunglasses, snagged the most internet votes and the grand prize over 60,000 other contestants in November 2009. Last month, Capin was named Petside.com's top pet person for 2010.
The $1 million, paid out over 30 years, is going to the Denver Dumb Friends League and the MaxFund, a no-kill shelter whose mission is saving injured animals without owners. “For me, it’s a home run,” Capin says. “A cute dog giving all his winnings away, nothing’s better.”
In 2006, Capin received Dr. Papidies as a gift, a sickly two-and-a-half-pound puppy mill survivor with Addison’s disease, an endocrine disorder. “I didn’t know if he was going to make it,” she says. “He was in the hospital on I.V. antibiotics weekly for the first three months of his life.”
Now 4-years-old, Dr. Papidies has been treated daily for Addison’s, an ailment that makes it difficult for him to handle stress. “He’s the love of our life,” Capin says of the tiny pooch. “He’s just the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
A life-long animal lover, Capin grew up in Tucson, Arizona with snakes, rabbits, a chimpanzee and even an elephant. “My dad owned a car wash,” she says. “An elephant was the mascot.” At Capin’s pet-friendly dermatology practice, she sells a line of doggie products, with all proceeds going to charity.
When workers at the MaxFund, which has between 100 and 200 homeless cats and dogs at a time, found out Dr. Papides won, they were elated. “He represents every cute dog that has been adopted,” Heidi Hahn, clinic director of MaxFund, has said. “He’s going to save so many lives.”
Click here for a video about Dr. Papidies with lots of cute pics!
Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post.