There are over 70 million stray dogs and cats in the United States, today. These dogs come from various backgrounds, some were born on the streets, others have gotten lost, and sadly, many of them have been abandoned by their guardians. Of the 70 million, only about six to eight million dogs and cats make it into shelters every year, and even fewer are adopted. Why do so few make it out of the system? Well, unfortunately, many people seek young, purebred pups from pet shops when shopping for a companion animal, despite the astronomical number of animals in shelters that are in need of a home. Many dogs are also stereotyped as violent or aggressive simply because of their breed, such as Pit Bulls.

Mike Minnick has a special place in his heart for shelter pups. Having adopted one himself, he knew that shelter dogs are all too often overlooked, but when given a chance, they are just as amazing as any pup you could buy from a pet store.

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While most individuals who make this compassionate choice usually raise awareness about the issue through example, Minnick has decided to to do so by traveling across America with his rescue pup! 

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Minnick and his pup, Bixby, have been on the road since May of 2013, and they sure have had quite a few awesome adventures and have seen some amazing sights!

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The dynamic duo’s story garnered the attention of the media and they quickly grew a fan base. “I realized that if we keep going, perhaps we can use our adventure to do something really positive,” shared Minnick.

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Part of Minnick’s journey also includes going to animal shelters and featuring a pet in need of a home on his social media campaign to help spread the word about adoptable four-legged friends.

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The two have traveled 3,000 miles since the beginning of their journey and Minnick has no plans of stopping. The next stop? Europe. 

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While Minnick and his pup clearly have a lot of silly fun on their journey, at the end of the day, Minnick is doing something incredibly important. Shelter animals are essentially the voiceless and often invisible beings of our society. They are made to wait listlessly in shelters while cruel puppy mills churn on to create “perfect-looking” pups for a display window. It’s up to all of us to better the situation for shelter animals around the world and it all starts with choosing to adopt and never shop for a pet.

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To learn more about Bixby and Minnick, check out their website, and to learn about how you can help keep pets off of the streets, click here.

All image source: Where’s Bixby