My Name Is Daniel Wallen and I'm Addicted to Dogs

Collage of Daniel Wallen posing with nine of his favorite pit bulls. They come in all colors: white, brown, grey, black, and spotted

Picture too small? Turn your phone sideways (same applies to the rest).

See? Told you so.

I'm the guy who goes to parties, isolates the dog, ignores the humans, and spends my evening playing with Fido.

All dogs are awesome, but pit bulls have a special place in my heart, because they're the #1 most misunderstood breed.

Despite the dishonest claims of biased news stories and flawed studies, I've never met a pit bull with an aggressive bone in their body.

Sure, they might not like cats. And they may prefer living in a home where they can get ALL the attention. But they've never bit or barked at me (and I've walked fifty).

Petworks newsletter from July, which named Daniel Wallen their Volunteer of the Month

People call me the Dogfather.

And there's a good reason.

Over the last two years, I've walked 125 dogs.

After each walk, I promote the dogs with a Facebook status about their unique quirks and personality.

115 of those dogs are now in a happy home. Can't claim full credit, but I bet the 11,156 social media shares helped.

Not to mention the 271,575 people reached (according to data in Facebook Page Manager), which is almost double the Tri-Cities population.

Sample of the kind of status updates Daniel Wallen writes to get dogs adopted. This one shows a black Lab/Terrier mix named Ringo.

The dogs saved me more than I saved them.

I was in a dark and depressing place before I found purpose at the animal shelter.

Suicide crossed my mind more than a few times. For a while, it was a daily consideration.

This isn't the appropriate time or place to get deeper into that issue; suffice to say, I fell into a pit of despair.

The dogs helped me climb out and find the light. They didn't care about my past mistakes. Their love was unconditional.

Dogs are also content as heck. They don't expect any grand gestures. A drive with the windows down, walk at the park, and belly rubs are enough to make them happy.

Front page news story from the Kingsport Times-News that covered Daniel Wallen's activities at his local animal shelter, Petworks Kingsport Animal Services

The dogs helped me heal and be a better human.

As the front page Kingsport Times-News headline says, I have adopted a dog's perspective on life. Best decision ever.

Like dogs, I'm more content. As long as I get some food and exercise, I'm happy, although a little love and affection never hurts.

No dog will argue about politics or religion. And neither do I. Most people are too attached to their opinions. It causes division. So I try not to have opinions at all.

The peace-of-mind that followed is unlike anything I've ever experienced. My mental health has never been better. And it's all because dogs taught me to focus on the few things that matter.

Cartoon drawn by a freelancer on Fiverr that shows the first fifty dogs Daniel Wallen walked. Pit bulls, chihuahuas, dachshunds, shepherds, terriers, and many other breeds are shown.

Now I aim to help shelter cats, too.

Every time I try to put a leash on a cat, they hiss at me (that was a joke -- I'm sure they would though).

That's how Tri Pets began. I like cats, but can't walk them or take their pictures outside. So I needed another approach.

I also might be moving soon. Three months ago, I graduated a coding school. Sadly, there aren't many technology jobs in the region.

If relocation becomes a must, I'll still be able to help Petworks and the Kingsport, TN pets they serve by updating their rosters once a week or two.

Status update published at the end of June about the push to get cats and kittens from Petworks Kingsport animal shelter adopted (there's a black cat, grey cat, and kitten snuggled against Daniel Wallen's head)

I appreciate your support of Tri Pets.

Already, 17,000+ people have visited this website (and I didn't even do a big launch).

Every single share raises awareness for homeless dogs and cats that deserve a forever family.

If this story resonated with you, please share on Facebook or Twitter. You might inspire a friend to become an animal rights advocate like you.

Animal lover with time to spare? If so, you'll love the Tri Pets blog. I post a fun and informative article for animal lovers every Sunday. Click here to dive in now.