TUNICA, MS -- Not "home for the holidays," but a home for the holidays. It's the best present of all for Tunica rescue dog, Joey.
When Joey was rescued in October, doctors weren't sure he'd make it. He was eating rocks to stay alive, found starving and ignored. Now he's the most beloved dog in the Mid-South.
Joey's happy, healthy and on his way to a new home.
"We wanted Joey's life to be perfect," says Sandy Williams, shelter director at the Tunica Humane Society.
Joey's a bundle of energy, barely recognizable as the same pup struggling to live just two months ago.
"Joey has just been a remarkable dog," Williams tells abc24.com "The way he handled this whole thing, every obstacle."
Joey weighed only 21 pounds when Williams rescued him. "He now weighs 43 pounds," she smiles. And he's no longer wandering Tunica's streets.
Joey found a home at the shelter that saved his life. This Christmas, Williams has found him a family.
"A few days ago we sent him home for a sleepover and everything went really well," she says. "They're going to be his forever family."
The Germantown residents have a son and another dog, a playmate for Joey.
"It was important for us that he be with a family where there was a child," Williams say. "It was important for him to have a playmate because Joey is just like a puppy."
"Our little Tunica superstar." laughs shelter volunteer Melissa Allen. Joey's loved by everyone from volunteers to Facebook fans, which number in the thousands.
"Joey has quite a following," agrees Williams. They live all over the U-S, even Europe.
Choosing Joey's forever home wasn't easy. Williams believes it's a match made in heaven. "The little family is just everything we prayed for for him, so he's got his happy ending," she smiles.
"At Christmas time, it just doesn't get any more magical," says Allen.
Joey has a clean bill of health from the vet. His stomach has healed from the rocks he ate and he will not suffer any long term side-effects.
His future looks bright.