Dan Tillery from Michigan and his girlfriend adopted a dog from a rescue shelter, but they didn’t know that this decision would cause such a sensation and change their life and their town forever. Read on to find out why a picture of smiling Diggy invited police and the law to his front door.
1. A Trip to A Dog Shelter
Musician Dan Tillery from Waterford Township just moved into a new house with his girlfriend, Megan. To fulfill his lifelong dream of having a dog in his own home to share their life with, the couple decided to adopt one! They headed to Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR) and ended up finding something surprisingly special there.
2. Sir Wiggleton
Dan and Megan came across Sir Wiggleton, who was rescued by the shelter and then lovingly named. They’d seen pictures of the pup posted online by DDR’s faculty and fell for his bright personality – they liked him! They decided to take Sir Wiggleton home. But would the adoption process go smoothly?
3. Adoption Day
After the longest car ride, Sir Wiggleton, accompanied by Rescue workers, was finally taken to his prospective home. To everyone’s joy, the first meeting turned out to be very exciting, and Sir Wiggleton loved Dan’s house. The couple signed the adoption papers and officially adopted the puppy and renamed him Diggy. Everything seemed to be in order. Or did it?
4. On Cloud Nine
After a few short hours with his new family, they could see how happy they had made each other. Clearly, Dan thought he’d made the right decision to adopt him. Like most dog owners, Dan and his girlfriend began to share pictures of Diggy on social media, which was actually the trigger for a string of unexpected events.
5. Social Media Star
The thing is, a rescue dog goofy as Diggy won over a lot of people from the DDR, and as a result they kept close track of his progress. So, they reposted the hilarious pictures of the adoption on Facebook. But what came next was quite beyond everyone’s expectation.
6. Went Viral
The picture with Dan and Diggy that the DDR reposted went viral on the Internet and got over 24,000 likes within several days. Everybody was crazy about those two. But little did they know that a storm was right there around the corner.
7. Something Went Wrong
Dan and his buddy were enjoying their new life together, with no clue that things were about to go very, very wrong. Someone saw the picture and reported it to the local police, deciding that Dan was violating the law. Nobody knew what exactly had happened until the police came knocking on the door.
8. A Shocking Visit
Dan opened the door, extremely confused. How could such an innocent and sweet photo of him and his puppy ever hurt anyone’s feelings so much that the police showed up? However, the police told Dan that he had broken the law. What was that about then?
It definitely took Dan by surprise when the police told him that it was illegal to own Diggy as a pet dog in Waterford Township, because Diggy was a pit bull. As a matter of fact, there was a law that forbade residents to have pit bulls in the area because the dog breed is considered vicious and dangerous. So, what would happen to Dan’s beloved Diggy?
10. Heartbreaking Ultimatum
To give up his dog or face the consequence were the options the police provided. Dan said that he knew the police were just doing their job, but he refused to surrender. Diggy is family, and he would never give him up like that. Anyway, the police gave him a deadline to decide what to do.
11. A Citation
The deadline came, and Dan still refused to comply. In the end, he was given a citation on June 13, 2016. Dan contacted the DDR and the executive director Kristina Rinaldi decided to support him. They went to the police station, to find a very tiny but shocking detail.
12. Bulldog Instead of Pit Bull
It turned out that Diggy wasn’t even a pit bull! He was an American bulldog. Dan got to keep Diggy, but that was just the beginning of the fight.
13. New Viral
The predicament seemed to have passed, and Dan shared it online with his music fans and those of the original viral photo. Unexpectedly, it aroused great sensation, and more fans stood up to defense Dan and his dog. Even the Michigan Humane Society got involved because they were planning something big.
More fans and supporters organized an online petition, demonstrating that not only was Diggy not a pit bull at all, but the fact that the dog breed shouldn’t be banned, because they weren’t necessarily violent by nature. They only act aggressively when their owners trained them that way. If anything, it’s the owners who should be punished. Would the petition work?
15. Forging Ahead
In a very short period of time, the petition received more than 54,000 signatures, which was beyond Dan’s expectation. But he prepared to fight anyway, and he hired a lawyer. He made it clear that he would do anything to keep his furry friend. But Dan hadn’t known that people were about to become really mad, when the true facts came to light.
16. Gathering Up
It turned out that the adoption papers which indicated that Diggy was an American bulldog instead of a pit bull were overlooked by the police. As a result, hundreds of angry supporters showed up at the town hall in Waterford Township. Things were really starting to heat up!
17. Let the Pit Bulls Live Here
The assembly asked the authority to stop bullying the breed. The speakers stated that the nearby townships had abolished similar laws. They firmly held to the point that it’s bad dog owners, instead of the breeds, that should be punished. But some professionals working with dog rescue organizations made a revelation that really took people by surprise.
18. Shocking Truth
The truth was people were more likely to be attacked by a chihuahua than a pit bull, and according to those professionals, the behavior and temperament of a pit bull is a total reflection of how they are trained. And hey, don’t forget that Diggy wasn’t a pit bull anyway! So, what would the court say?
19. Sweet Victory
After a period of nervous waiting in limbo, in September 2016, the 51st District Court dropped the case to remove Diggy from Dan’s house. Dan was very well aware that the result would be different if it weren’t for people’s support. Now Diggy and his goofy smile can stay with Dan in their forever home! But that’s not all.
20. Changing the Law
The case concerning Dan and Diggy led to the change of the law in Waterford Township. Now, only vets, not police officers, can decide a dog’s breed. Dan celebrated the hard-won victory with a heartwarming gesture.
21. Body Art
Dan had a tattoo done on his thigh! Yes, you are right! It’s a picture of Diggy the rescue dog, the one he loved so much. Now no one is going to separate them and they can finally enjoy their great journey together. Actually, they ended up doing something that’s really going to crack you up.
22. A Coffee A Day
Dan took Diggy for a coffee at Starbucks. The most adorable part is Diggy even has his own little pup cup to enjoy. I wonder how Diggy finds the puppuccino? Any good?
23. New Friends
After all the viral furor he caused on the Internet, Diggy has sort of become a celebrity online. He started to meet lots of other American bulldogs just like him and made some new friends. But we all know who his best friend is – Dan, of course!
24. Ear-to-ear Smiles
It makes sense that Diggy earned the nickname “Smiling Dog” because he is all smiles! Now he is the happy creature that has his own home and gets to spend all the time with his owner. No need to worry about being taken away anymore.
Well, no matter what is going to happen to Dan and Diggy in the future, they will be there for each other through thick and thin. That’s what a friend means, right? After reading the story about Dan and Diggy, and seeing the love they share, we start to realize that there is always something worth fighting for in our lives. You just need to find it.