After receiving 7,000 adoption requests and several death threats over his unique appearance, Narwhal the "unicorn" puppy has found a forever home with the rescuer who made him famous.
The adorable pooch with an extra tail growing from his forehead went viral last month when Rochelle Steffen, founder of rescue organization Mac's Mission, posted video and photos of the abandoned puppy found in rural Missouri.
UNICORN THINGS: being perfect and breaking the internet.Posted by Mac the pitbull on Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Steffen was not prepared for the sheer volume of people who wanted to adopt Narwhal, named after an Arctic whale with a long protruding tusk. Nor was she braced for the hateful comments and death threats that poured in, she said.
Someone wrote that the 11-week-old pup's head should be stomped "with a boot because he is not one of God's creatures," Steffen told InsideEdition.com Wednesday. Another person said Narwhal's extra tail was "one of Satan's horns," she said.
Steffen was also floored by what she called the audacity of people who thought money would get them noticed. "Someone offered $2 million for him," she said. "It's mind-blowing." A news executive offered $7,000, she said, and pledged to fly down in a private jet to pick up Narwhal.
"He's not for sale!" she said.
With so much attention raining down on the small rescue group that cares for special-needs dogs, Steffen said she ultimately decided to keep Narhwa herself. "I've just fallen in love with him," she said. And the idea of vetting 7,000 adoption applications was simply overwhelming, she said.
"How do you pick someone to take care of this puppy, when they get 100% control as soon as you hand them over?" she wondered.
Also unsettling were the folks who just turned up at the three-acre sanctuary demanding to adopt Narwhal, she said. One person actually walked into the compound unannounced and was found walking around the outbuildings, she said. That's when she removed Narwhal from the general population of dogs and took him into her house.
"I will die for this puppy," she said. Narwhal is now never out of her sight, she said, or the sight of volunteer staff at the shelter.
She and her unpaid staff maintain the rescue center via donations. They take in dogs afflicted with parvo, mange, cleft palates and spina bifida. About two dozen dogs currently reside there, she said.
She founded the group in 2011, when she and friend rescued a pit bull named Mac. She works seven days a week caring for the dogs, she said. She still has that pit, who's incredibly tolerant of Narwhal and his puppy antics that include chewing on Mac's ear.
UNICORN THINGS: Mac, my rescuer, being super tolerant... I love him.Posted by Mac the pitbull on Thursday, November 21, 2019
The adoration generated by Narwhal's internet debut has done good things, too, Steffen notes.
"Narwhal's attention has gotten a couple of other dogs adopted," she said.
There is also Narwhal's brother — rescued with the two-tailed puppy on the side of a road — who needs a good home.