Mavis and Martin, A Love Story

Anyone who follows PAWS New England is likely familiar with the name Steve Hagey. Steve has been the hero in multiple PAWS lost dog cases when he has successfully brought home dogs like Lilly, Lacey, and Faith. So when Steve emailed PAWS and said he had a case that he could use our help on, we leaped at the chance to assist our dear friend.

As Steve began with the details of Mavis and Martin’s story, every member of the PAWS team became captivated by the details…

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by one of my former clients, her name is Alana. Alana lives in Philadelphia and regularly traps stray dogs just out of the goodness of her heart. She herself has six dogs, all of which came off the streets. When Alana calls me for help with a capture, something too much for her to handle on her own, I know it’s going to be interesting.

Alan became aware of two dogs living in a salvage yard. A male and a female, we call them Martin and Mavis. The locals say that the dogs have been there for three years and that female has had two litters of puppies. Some of the workers from the salvage yard would take the puppies and sell them, but no concern was ever given to Martin and Mavis. For food, I was told that the dogs would drag trash bags from the street.

In addition to living this solitary life with it’s hardships, Martin and Mavis put theirs lives in great peril everyday — they would walk across and up and down a five track high speed line for trains. I can honestly say in just the time I was on-site preparing for their capture, I do not know how they managed not to get hit by a train. The things I saw with those dogs on the tracks were absolutely frightening.

Just as important, there were obvious special qualities about these dogs. The bond these two dogs have for each other is actually romantic. Alana had setup a conventional humane trap, her initial goal was to trap the female and then work on getting the male later. However, the female would not enter the trap. For food, the male would enter the trap, skillfully pull out the tray of food and give it to the female so she could eat. He would stand guard while she ate. They were never apart. They slept together, played together, and ate  together. When I saw this bond between the two, I decided that catching one in advance of the other would be trouble. I felt the second would panic and start a frantic search for their missing partner. So long story short, I used enclosure capture to catch both together.”

Steve’s incredible skill to capture both dogs safely was just the first step in this incredible story. Alana, who had led the charge to save both of these dogs, took both of them into her home where they currently reside. Martin is the more outgoing of the two dogs. He enjoys pats on the head and belly rubs. Not surprisingly, he also enjoys sleeping the day away in his comfy new bed. We are sure that years of living in his stressful environment have exhausted him. Mavis on the other hand, is heartbreakingly shy. She trembles in fear when humans approach and only finds comfort in Martin, the love of her life. Mavis has started to make small steps of progress and come out of her shell, but it will be a long road for her.

As PAWS New England has extensive experience with dogs like Mavis and Martin, Alana and Steve reached out to us to see if we could bring them into our network. PAWS is honored to be part of this partnership and is currently seeking a foster or adoptive home for both of these dogs. We are looking for someone who is experienced with shy dogs (neither dog has exhibited any aggression) and understands that this will likely be a long term commitment. However, we speak from experience when we say that there is nothing more rewarding than watching a dog overcome her great fear of humans. Perhaps even more heartwarming will be the chance to observe the inspiring bond that these two dogs share.

If you are interested in adopting or fostering Mavis and Martin, please email Kelly Parker at And, if you would like to support these two dogs and assist with their vetting expenses, please consider making a donation to PAWS New England.


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