Written by Ed Kostrof of Illinois
Several weeks ago, a small black dog was spotted running along some railroad tracks in the bitter cold and snow and no one knew if he had traveled a great distance on those railroad tracks, as many lost and abandoned dogs do, or if he lived in the area.
Everyone who spotted him over the past several weeks soon realized that this poor little street orphan was extremely skittish and afraid. Every time that anyone got anywhere near him, he would take off and rush away into the snow.
For the next several weeks, this skittish, starving, frozen little dog would periodically be seen roaming the city streets in search of food. Each time he was spotted by someone, I would go out looking for him, and I could never find him anywhere.
Several weeks after he was first seen, he wandered into a woman’s backyard, and she watched through her window as this starving little dog stood at her birdfeeder pawing through the snow and gulping down bird seed — he only food that he could find. She took pity on him, and she began putting out some dog food for him right next to her birdfeeder. This starving little street orphan was extremely grateful for her kindness; he began showing up in her backyard every day.
Although he was very appreciative of her daily food offerings, he would rush out of her yard if she attempted to approach him, and she quickly realized that she would need some help in rescuing him from his dire plight.
I got her address from one of my fellow pet rescuers, and I headed over there with one of my dog traps on a bitterly cold February morning. To my surprise, this elusive little orphan was standing right there in the snow at this woman’s birdfeeder in search of his next meal. As soon as I got out of my truck, he bolted out of her yard, and he raced away down the snow-covered alley.
In his absence, I quickly set up and baited my dog trap, jumped back into my truck and quickly drove away.
By the time that I returned a few minutes later, this starving, frozen little dog was already contentedly sitting in my trap, grateful for yet one more meal. Soon, he was also grateful to be in the warmth of my truck after being out in the bitter cold and deep snow for so long.
As I have witnessed many times before, as soon as I coaxed him out of my dog trap, he became a completely different dog, appreciative and extremely affectionate. As I drove him to the animal hospital, he very happily sat next to me on the passenger seat, even periodically giving me sweet little doggie kisses. As I pondered what to call him, I realized that it was Valentine’s Day; and he quickly became “Little Valentino.”
Sadly, like far too many street orphans that we rescue these days, Little Valentino had no collar or I.D. tags, no microchip and he had not been neutered. Still, his lonely, frigid, food-deprived winter ordeal was finally over and he was extremely glad to finally be in out of the cold.
The search continues for his family, but if Little Valentino is yet another abandoned canine, we are determined to find him the loving new home that he and every other dog in America truly deserves.