The Amazing Story of Oscar the Death Row Dog

Outdoor Adventure (Unique lifestyle/travel/personal experience)

One of my favorite photos from our Dogs On The Go photo contest powered by Ruffwear was this snapshot below submitted by Annette from New York City.

So much so, I shared the photo on the Eastern Mountain Sports Facebook page assuming Annette owned both the helpful yellow lab and the intrepid little handicapped dog that yanked at my heart strings. A day after sharing the photo, I got an email from C Merry the owner of little Oscar who saw the photo in his newsfeed. It was an incredible coincidence and after answering C Merry’s questions about how her dog ended up on our page, I found myself asking a lot of questions of my own which I received some fascinating answers to along with a link to the video below that gave me an ear to ear grin.

That video alone is “blog worthy” but this story is even more amazing when you consider the fact the adorable, energetic little dog you see in the video above was once just a few hours from being euthanized in a New York City shelter.

The heartbreaking photo that helped Oscar get rescued.

Urgent Death Row Dogs, an all volunteer non-profit organization shared the above photo on their Facebook page on June 6, 2011 which was spotted by the good people at New York Pet-i-Care another grassroots organization committed to helping “the abandoned, abused, injured and forgotten dogs and cats of New York City.” Of the hundreds of dogs saved by New York Pet-i-Care, many of them are fostered by Julia Prem and Dr. Peter Schauhbut of the Downtown Veterinary Clinic. It was here, during a visit with her sick cat, that C Merry first met Oscar when “he came ‘running’ out with a bunch of other dogs from the back and it was truly love at first sight.”

Poppa Rick helping Oscar on a snowy day in NYC.

In the nearly two years since adopting Oscar, C Merry has become a passionate advocate for death row dogs, handicapped dogs and pet adoption. “We had never said “let’s adopt a special needs pet” it really was that we just loved him and that was that,” C Merry told me. That said, Oscar’s path from death row dog to “loving happy guy” was filled with a lot of learnings about all kinds of dog gear including wheelchairs, strollers, drag bags and “tinkle trousers” to deal with Oscar’s issues with “expressing the bladder.”  C Merry shares interesting facts, ideas, encouragement on Oscar’s Facebook page along with many more videos on her YouTube Channel.

Oscar getting ready for his close up with Dara Foster.

I’m not the only one struck by Oscar’s story. Later this year, he’ll be featured in a sticker book published by renowned pet stylist and NBC regular Dara Foster where he’ll be showing the world that physical limitations can’t stop a dog (or a human) from enjoying a fun-filled life. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s something we’d all do well to remember whenever we’re feeling sorry for ourselves about something a lot less serious than the challenges others deal with every day.

Keep on having fun out there, Oscar, and thank you C Merry for all the great photos and information!

Oscar out for a walk with his sister and fellow rescue dog, Tiki.


Jim Darroch

Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski. Follow Jim Darroch on !


  1. March 29, 2013, 9:06 am

    Good for you guys.

    Just wanted to let you know that WP is throwing an image processing error on your page:

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  2. Ron Gaydos
    March 28, 2013, 6:43 pm

    We LOVE!!! Oscar Madison. His “Grinch who stole Christmas” Float on his Wheelchair is Incredible. I know I decorate my Lil Oscars Wagon Wheelchair with for the Parades he appears in. He’s 15 and been Specially-Abled for 13 years. Please check out his Facebook Page – Lil Oscars Wagon. Anyway we are very proud and Happy to see Oscar Madison get the recognition he deserves…^ _ ^

  3. March 28, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Aww LOVE so much you wrote about precious Oscar! I would’ve let you know he was not my dog. We just ran into him when doing a photo shoot with my dog for my dog biscuit company one day. It happened to be his first day trying out his wheels and we had a professional photographer there to capture it on film. Of course I was thrilled Starr could help distract him and get him walking (then running) with her. We have a great action shot of him in full run too!

    WE LOVE YOU OSCAR! Starr’s ready to walk – run – play with you anytime!

  4. March 28, 2013, 1:57 pm

    THANK YOU (and that’s Oscar’s poppa Rick in the picture :) ) We love him so much!

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