Pets In Need staffers help'bait' dog find new home

John Marullo” width=
Courtesy of Pets In Need
John Marullo poses with his new dog, Baby, adopted through Pets In Need.

Approximately two dozen people inquired about adopting Baby, but John Marullo’s application brought Pets In Need staffers to tears. In it, the San Francisco resident describes losing Una, his longtime canine companion, to cancer a year ago.

“I feel like the best job I’ve ever had was getting to be a human for a dog,” wrote Marullo, a member of Facebook’s Learning & Development team. “I take this job very seriously. Una was my pride and joy.”

As of Valentine’s Day, Marullo is now Baby’s human, too; inspired by his story and pledged commitment, Pets In Need selected him to adopt Baby nearly a month after someone left the 1-year-old bulldog-pitbull mix in a crate outside the animal rescue organization’s Palo Alto location, which also serves Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Based on the extensive bite marks on Baby’s neck, PIN staffers believe he was used as a “bait” dog to train other canines how to attack in competition. The person or people who dumped him remain at large.

PIN considered Baby’s injuries life-threatening; he required emergency hospitalization to address swelling and fluid retention. His medical issues are nearly all resolved now, however, and he was neutered before going home.

Al Mollica, PIN executive director, said Baby is one of those dogs who knows how to smile.

“I guess the irony here is that you’re dealing with this wonderful, friendly, affable little guy who had all of these serious injuries,” Mollica said. “It’s just amazing to me that a dog could have that kind of personality after what he went through.”

Marullo describes his new family member as a happy, “low-to-the-ground” kind of dog. He said he was attracted to Baby because he has the same look of resiliency in his eyes as Una, another pocket-sized pitbull mix, did in hers.

“This guy had obviously been through a lot of trauma and people treated him in quite a cruel and terrible way, but he just seemed to be on his feet and ready to go and ready to love again,” Marullo said.

While Baby is now off the market, Mollica believes his celebrity could inspire other dog lovers to adopt.

“The hope is that if they’re disappointed in not getting Baby, they can hopefully find something else almost as good,” Mollica said.

Marullo would like their story to lead to additional support for Pets In Need.

“If anybody is looking to, whether it’s volunteer their time or donate money, that’s an organization that richly deserves it, and I feel a huge amount of gratitude to them for saving Baby’s life and giving me the opportunity to provide a home and what I hope to really be an awesome life for Baby,” he said.

For more information on Pets In Need and other animals available for adoption, visit Follow Baby on Instagram at

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos