Gordon the Shiba Inu has accomplished a lot in his 11 years. After surviving a hit-and-run accident in Taiwan that left him paralyzed from the waist down, he was given a second chance at life, which ultimately brought him to his new owners, Wendy Wickersham and Jim Larson, in the United States. Now, Gordon's story and charming personality are being recognized on a grand scale, as he takes home top place in PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest.
When browsing through Gordon's Instagram, it's easy to see why he was awarded first place. In every photo, the orange-colored Shiba Inu exudes happiness and good spirits, often shown playing in grassy parks with a large ball. “We thought we were adopting him to help him, and really he has given us so much joy and laughter that I feel like we could never repay that to him,” Wickersham said. And while all is well now, it was a long process to get Gordon safely adapted to his new life in the States.
“I'm reading this sad story, and then there was a picture of him, and he's got the biggest, goofiest smile,” Wickersham said about when she first came across Gordon's profile. After some time passed, she found that she kept thinking about the sweet-looking dog, and decided to follow through with the adoption process which, due to Gordon's distance (living in Taiwan) and his disabilities, required several months.
Some of the things Wickersham and her husband, Jim Larson, had to do were make their house wheelchair-accessible, and prepare their other dog, Yuki (who has since passed), for a new addition to the household. Finally, in November 2015, they welcomed Gordon to his forever home. “I don't know who was more scared, me or him,” Wickersham added. Slowly, through patience and encouragement, Gordon eased into his new life and became the delightful pup that we know today.
Gordon was chosen as the World's Cutest Rescue Dog from over 9,000 other candidates. In winning the contest, he was awarded a year's supply of dog food, as well as a $1,000 donation to the animal rescue of Wickersham's choice.
Be sure to follow Gordon on Instagram to see more adorable photos of his life.
Gordon the Shiba Inu is PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog of 2022.
Gordon survived a hit-and-run accident in Taiwan, which left his hind legs paralyzed.
Wendy Wickersham and Jim Larson came across his profile and adopted Gordon through Love and Second Chances in 2015.
Now, Gordon is living his best life in his new home, using a wheelchair to get around.
His cute face and playful personality have won the hearts of people around the world.