Excitement was in the air at the Toledo Area Humane Society on Tuesday morning as the staff geared up to adopt out the ‘‘Suitcase 6'' puppies and their mother.
One of the puppies was adopted Monday afternoon by his foster mom, Tanya Nikolakos of Holland, who had nicknamed him Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart, after the pro wrestler by that name. A lottery was held for five puppy applicants and one adopter for the mom dog. The winners were pulled from 132 applications submitted by those interested in giving the dogs a new home, said John Dinon, executive director at the agency.
The organization received more than 1,000 phone inquiries from potential adopters in every state nationwide when news of the puppies broke. The puppies were found last month zipped inside a canvas suitcase and abandoned with their mother tied nearby in an alley behind a grocery store.
Their former owner, Howard Davis, was charged after leaving an ID tag with his name and address attached to the bag, which led authorities to him.
Mr. Davis, who was ordered by the judge to neuter and spay all the animals in his household, will be back in court June 22 for sentencing.
At the humane society on Tuesday, Mark Taylor of Toledo was the first of the lottery winners to arrive at 10:22 a.m., even though the shelter didn't open until 11 a.m.
He got first dibs on choosing one of the puppies. The pup he chose, the one with a spot on his white head, will be known as Augustus, who was the first emperor of the Roman empire.
"I knew I wanted him as soon as I saw him," Mr. Taylor said. "He's laid back. He reminds me of me."
After the 30-minute bonding session required of all adopters, Mr. Taylor finished filling out paperwork. At one point, his adoption counselor, Megan Bates, took the puppy from him and went to a procedure room to have flea preventive applied to him. After a few minutes, Mr. Taylor started looking around anxiously for his new pal to return.
"I'm already missing him," he said with a laugh.
Mr. Dinon lamented there weren't enough Suitcase 6s to go around. He reminded potential clients the humane society has many more puppies looking for homes.
There are 12 puppies in foster homes who will be ready to go up for adoption in roughly two weeks, he said.
Other new adopters included Jennice and Eddie Collier of Shaker Heights, near Cleveland.
"We feel so blessed to be chosen," Mr. Collier said.
The Collier's 16-year-old daughter, Shontese, was allowed to miss school in order to make the two-hour trip with her parents and pick out the puppy, who will be called Princess.
"She has been asking for a dog for at least five years," Mrs. Collier said.
Other adopters included Jason and Kristin Perkins of Oregon, who chose the all-white puppy, who will carry the moniker Brutus.
David Davison of Toledo, chose the female puppy with the spot on her eye that was named Petey for the similar looking dog on the Our Gang and Little Rascals comedy series.
Stacey Bettinger of Berkey adopted the female puppy with Holstein cow markings.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to call her," Mr. Davison said, adding that he may rename the pup.
"She's going to be a great playmate for my younger dog, Carter, who is also an American Bulldog."
David and Charlotte Swincicki, who live on 10 acres in Providence Township, adopted the faithful mother dog, Maddie, who had stood guard over the suitcase filled with her pups after they were abandoned.
"He's wanted a bulldog for a long time," Mrs. Swincicki said of her husband, who she said spends a lot of time puttering outside. "I felt sorry for [Maddie] when I read about her. I'm just glad we can give her a good home."
Contact Tanya Irwin at: email@example.com, or 419-724-6066.