St. Petersburg retiree Art Shaul is dedicating his life and bank account to rescuing as many dogs as he can.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- “I-75, baby! Seventy-five miles per hour! And there’s puppies being born in the backseat."
Shaul is a St. Petersburg retiree on a noble crusade to save as many dogs as he can.
Dog adoptions may be up but animal shelters are still overcrowded. Around 1.5 million animals are euthanized each year.
Shaul has become a minor celebrity on social media sites like NextDoor. He is part of a local network of freelance dog rescuers. His passion for saving animals started decades ago.
“When I was a little kid, I had a dog die in my arms after it got hit by a car," said Shaul. "That’s what got me going.”
Now retired from a sales career, the 69-year-old is devoting his time and bank account to trying to relocate dogs before they head to a shelter.
Which brings us back to those puppies being born on a major Florida highway.
He heard the story through his network. A malnourished red-tick hound named Coralina.
“She was pushed out of a car along a road in Kentucky," said Shaul. "The car sped off. She’s like 8 to 10 years old and she’s pregnant.”
Coralina was about to become one of the 1.5 million animals euthanized in shelters every year until Art and a friend got into his gold minivan and drove north to rescue her.
The first puppy was born right after they crossed the Florida state line while driving home.
“I was a little shocked. I was scared and thrilled at the same time," said Shaul. "We had a knife and had to use that to cut the umbilical cords.”
Six puppies were born. Art found homes for all of them.
And Coralina. She went to a family, too.
“Coralina will be spoiled rotten" said Shaul. "And after what happened to her, she deserves it.”