Okay, he wasn’t actually our first rescue, but definitely our worst. In the worst condition.
I had gone in to the shelter to pick up a new little Pit pup (teenager) we were rescuing (Mary Jo is fostering her). While I was there, they asked me if I could come back to the back and look at a dog they were going to be emailing me about. I could tell from the way Sheila was acting that it was a tragic situation, but I didn’t have any idea what else to expect. This is what I saw…
This dog was cowering in the back of a kennel. His coat looked terrible, and his tail was matted to the skin with huge mattes. Even with his long hair, you could see his ribs and hip bones. They told me he was found running scared in Gaston. His frame is long and he looks like a dog that should weigh about 55+lbs, instead he weighed 27lbs. On a veterinary rating of 1-5 for emaciation (1 being worst, 5 being best), he was rated a 1. The shelter vet estimated his age at about one year old, probably a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix. He had clearly been on his own for quite awhile.
I took one look at him and knew he had to leave the shelter, so I brought him home. That night, Susan and Mary Jo and I bathed him, cut his matte’s out, brushed him and blow dried him (after he got used to the whole experience). It took about two hours but he looked and felt much better! Susan named him Phoenix.
I feed Phoenix four times per day so it’s easier for him to metabolize his food and benefit from it. He eats every morsel. Yesterday, I brought him up to our vet clinic and weighed him and he is already 35lbs! I’m so excited!
Phoenix is still very, very fearful. He runs back and forth in my backyard like a dog who is panicky and feral. Luckily, he knows and trusts me so he comes to me pretty easily. I can tell he is really relieved to be indoors, because he runs as fast as he can to get inside after he does his business. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it anymore!
I will keep you posted of his progress and take pics as he gains weight. I also think his coat color will change because it looks bleached and coarse from being outdoors and malnourished.
Think about how cold it is outside right now. It’s been 20 degrees. Phoenix would have been out there in that cold, weighing roughly half his normal body weight. He’s a lucky, lucky boy.