The Facebook post showed the 6-year-old dogs, Maggie and Ollie, side-by-side and told the story of their owners giving them up to Hillsborough County Animal Services because of a new baby.
The volunteer who wrote the post on the Rescue Me Tampa - Shelter Dogs Facebook page described how the pit bulls shared a bond, having been together since they were puppies, but were being housed separately at the county shelter.
“They have no idea what they did to deserve this,” the poster said. “It just breaks my heart. They lived their whole life together!!! ... Please consider adopting these 2 together. They just lost everything they knew and loved."
The post became one of the most popular ever on the Rescue Me Tampa page and was shared more than 2,000 times with comments ranging from heartbroken to enraged at the situation. Many wondered if someone would adopt the adult dogs and reunite them.
Rescue Me Tampa is not a shelter itself, but a group of volunteers that posts updates about dogs and policies at Hillsborough County Animal Service and helps organize fosters for shelter dogs.
Over a week later came an update: someone had permanently adopted both dogs, and “they hit the DOGGIE LOTTERY!!!,” read the post. “Their new Daddy is actor/wrestler Dave Bautista. ... Huge, gated property. Tempurpedic dog beds! Doggy doors everywhere. They really will live the good life from here on out!!!”
The photo with the post shows actor and Tampa resident Bautista smiling with the reunited pups.
Bautista, a former WWE wrestling champion, has starred in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner and Stuber. He’s also a known dog lover who has three of his own pitbulls tattooed on his leg and painted on the wall of his office. He has worked to promote locally-based charity Frankie’s Friends, which provides veterinary care for owners who can’t afford it.
Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who starred alongside Bautista in Stuber, recalled Bautista’s love of dogs in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times last year.
“He really loves his dogs, man,” Nanjiani said. “There are some parts where we were shooting with a dog in a car, and the dog would get overheated and he was just so attuned to it. Dave would be like, ‘We can’t shoot! We have to cool him down!’ and we’d be like, ‘Dave, we’re losing daylight,’ and Dave would be like, ‘But he’s all panting!’ and so we’d be like, ‘Okay, Dave, we’ll take a break so the dog can get a bit of rest.’ And then we’d shoot some stuff without the dog, and then the dog would come back, and Dave would get all excited.”