Editor’s note: This is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on July 23, 2013. Enjoy!
Written by Stephanie Legelis of Pennsylvania
I rescued my first animal when I was three. I begged and pleaded with my mom until she agreed. Thank God she said ‘yes’ as Franky would not have had a chance without us and I knew it from that early age. Since then rescue has been in my blood. I have saved hundreds of animals from death, but not without help. This is one such story.
My husband and I were driving between the two tunnels on our way home in Montenegro, when my husband said, “Wow, I think I just saw the ears of a Great Dane.” Now usually there was a woman herding her goats in that area, but we both had to turn around and go back.
We pulled up and admired the sea view in an isolated spot that the locals told us was the dumping ground for dogs. The theory was the location was ideal for a “quick death” as there was no food nor water, and if the animal tried to leave, most likely a car would hit them. This was the case as I had already rescued two dogs hit by cars there the spring before. Upon getting out, we quickly noticed black ears up in the air. My heart sunk as I knew what I would see. He could still stand but he was thin and his skin was appalling. His feet had swelled to three times their normal size due to Demodex Mange and he was terrified.
He Ate It All…
I had water and food on me as I always carry emergency supplies. I mixed the dry food with a liter of water and he ate it all so quickly that I worried about bloating. I knew he was severely dehydrated and assumed he had leishmaniasis (a disease transmitted by sub species of sand fly). We drove home and loaded up on more water, vitamins and food. Then, we went back to Baby to stay with him a while and work on hydrating him and boosting his trust in us.
We continued going twice a day until I realized he would have to be drugged as he just was too afraid. My friend helped me do this and we brought Baby to the vet. I thought he was an old dog because he looked it, but the vet took one look at his teeth and declared that he was no more than one year! Hence the name “Baby.”
The vet ran many tests on him because we assumed the worst but everything came up negative to our delight. What is appalling is that he was micro-chipped and his ears had been clipped. The vet suggested he was disposed of because of his sensitive and sweet nature.
She treated him with antibiotics and vitamins and that was the beginning. We brought him to my friend’s enclosed garden and he was thrilled. There he had a bed and food and water and began to recuperate. Days and weeks went by, turning into months before the Germany rescue team Tierhilfe Montenegro arrived.
By the time they arrived, Baby was socialized and a love bug, a complete reversal from the frightened dog of before. He loved cats and other dogs and was just a beam of joy. He is in Germany now with a loving family who continue his treatments. It has only been a couple of months and I never stop looking between those tunnels knowing it will only be a matter of time before the next dog appears.