Humane Society’s emotional ‘Mutual Rescue’

Meet Eric and Peety. But keep a tissue handy.

In 2010, Eric O’Grey’s doctor told him he would need a funeral plot within five years. Today he’s running marathons. “I’m still here because a shelter dog saved my life,” he says at the opening of a six-minute video for Humane Society Silicon Valley’s “Mutual Rescue” campaign.

It’s probably a good time to grab that tissue. O’Grey tells us he used to weigh 340 lbs, with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure that had him shelling out $1,000 per month for medication. He felt uncomfortable around other people so he stopped seeing them. “I just stopped living,” he says.

Enter Peety. After a humiliating experience on an airplane, O’Grey visited a nutritionist who told him the first thing he should do is adopt a shelter dog: it would force him to go outside and become more social. At the shelter, he asks for “an obese, middle-aged dog so that I would have something in common with him.” In addition to the bond they formed, the pair dramatically improved each other’s health.

“He looked at me, in every sense, as though I was the greatest person on the planet. I decided I wanted to be the person who he thought I was,” O’Grey says.

It’s probably not too much of a spoiler to say that, in the tradition of memorable pet stories, there’s some heartbreak in this one, affectively rendered in line-drawn animation. But the overall tone is hopeful, demonstrating the idea of “Mutual Rescue.” As part of the campaign, adopters can submit their own rescue stories until April 30. The four winners will have their stories produced in short film format like Eric and Peety’s.