HANFORD — Television viewers around the country will soon be charmed by one of the brightest smiles in Kings County — the underbite of a rescue dog named Mabel.
Maureen Tompkins, of Lemoore, and Mabel, her nearly-2-year-old Boston Terrier/pitbull mix will appear on the Hallmark Channel’s “American Rescue Dog Show” at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17.
“I about cried [when I found out]. It was really exciting. I was actually here volunteering at the Haven when they called and we all started jumping around screaming,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins, a board member of the nonprofit Valley Animal Haven Shelter in Lemoore, and Mabel took the trip to participate in the filming of the all-rescue dog show in Pomona in January.
“I can’t say anything about the results. Everyone will just have to watch it,” she said.
Mabel competed in the Best in Underbite category at the second annual Hallmark Channel event. Other categories include Best in Snoring, Best in Special Needs, Best in Wiggle Butt and Best in Couch Potato, among others.
“It was so much fun,” Tompkins said. ”It’s Hallmark’s way of promoting shelters and saying that you can get awesome dogs from a shelter.”
Mabel first came to the Valley Animal Haven and Adoption Center, located at 990 East D St., Lemoore, in May of 2017, along with five brothers and sisters, after having been found under a house scheduled to be demolished by construction workers, Animal Haven Executive Director Pam Brasil said.
The week-old pups, abandoned by their mother, were in bad shape. Three of the puppies had contracted parvo, including runt of the litter Mabel.
The two others with parvo, a stomach virus, died and the vet wasn’t optimistic about Mabel’s chances, Tompkins said. Expecting to make Mabel’s last few months on Earth comfortable and happy ones, Tompkins took her in.
“I said, ‘well, I’ll just take her home with me and she’ll just live as long as she’s going to live’ – and that was a year and a half ago,” Tompkins said.
Mabel is now healthy and happy, living on Tompkin’s ranch with five other dogs.
“She’s a little fighter. We’ve been together her whole life,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins, with the help of Mabel, leads a weekly obedience class through Lemoore Parks and Recreation called K9 Confidence. Group and private lessons are offered.
“She’s come full circle from a little pathetic puppy on death’s door to now thriving and being a good partner in this training class,” Brasil said. “It’s an amazing situation.”
The Animal Haven, sponsored by the Hallmark Channel, will host a Paw-Parazzi adoption special to coincide with the airing of the dog show.
From Feb. 17-28, the shelter will adopt out dogs at discounted prices. The dogs will still receive vaccinations, spay or neutering, microchipping and other services before being adopted out. From 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, those in attendance will meet the newest Lemoore TV star, Mabel, and have the chance to take photos with her memorable mug.
The Valley Animal Haven began based out of Brasil’s home in March 2014 before moving to its current location in January of 2017. A fifth anniversary party and donation drive is scheduled for March.
The no-kill shelter conducts about 700 adoptions per year, Brasil said, and houses around 200 animals at any time. Receiving no state, local or federal funding, the shelter relies on donations from the community to stay in operation.
While Tompkins said that Mabel had fun in front of the cameras during the American Rescue Dog Show, she’s more comfortable at home relaxing than she is in front of the adoring fans in Tinseltown.
“She was happy to come back home and be a ranch dog,” Tomkins said.