Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on April 4, 2013. Enjoy!
Written by Ed Kostro of Illinois
It was two weeks before Easter when I got a phone call from a police officer concerning yet another abandoned dog. “I’ve seen this poor guy roaming the streets now for the past several nights while on patrol. He’s old; he’s starving; and he looks extremely sad and forlorn. Can you help me rescue him?”
On this police officer’s next day off, she and I headed out to the area this old homeless canine was roaming. We drove around the area for at least an hour, and we couldn’t find him anywhere. “Maybe he only wanders around at night in search of food,” she finally said.
We spotted a postal worker delivering mail, and we asked her if she had seen this old street waif. “I haven’t seen him today, but that dog is breaking my heart. He’s been wandering around this neighborhood for weeks now, and he really looks pathetic. I’ve called Animal Control several times, but I still see him around here just about every day digging through the trash.”
So we kept looking for him, and we eventually asked another postal worker if she had seen him. “I just saw that dog about five minutes ago, and he was heading north. He really looks old and worn out.”
We headed north in our vehicles, and we soon spotted him trudging down an alley in search of food. I couldn’t believe how thin, haggard and miserable he looked. When he spotted us following him, he began walking a little faster, not knowing that we wanted to help, not hurt him.
We were finally able to corral him in that alley, and when I carried him to my truck, I sadly realized what a truly horrid condition he was in. He was thin– far too thin and his matted, mangled fur was filthy, and it was drenched in some sort of putrid smelling tar and oil.
At the animal hospital, the vet couldn’t believe his horrendous condition. “He’s at least fifteen pounds underweight, and God only knows what this terrible smelling gunk on his coat is. He doesn’t have a microchip, and he’s not neutered, and I’d say that he’s at least eight or nine years old. What are you going to name this one?”
The Resurrection of Scruffy
“I’ve decided to call him ‘Scruffy.’ Poor old Scruffy has really had it tough out there on the streets, and I really think he deserves a second chance.”
Scruffy spent the next ten days at the animal hospital being cared for, neutered, vaccinated, pampered and bathed. They soon discovered that he had a nasty ear infection, an intestinal disorder, and severe bad teeth. After several days in their care, Scruffy started feeling much better. His matted, oil-soaked coat, however, was beyond repair, and it had to be shaved off.
When I went to pick him up the day before Easter, I couldn’t believe how good he looked, and how his disposition had changed. Now, he was all tail wags and kisses, and he was walking around with a very light-hearted bounce in his step. When we found him, I had to lift him up into my truck; and this time, he jumped right into it. Scruffy had truly been resurrected with some much-needed medical assistance and a lot of tender loving care.
As they usually do, my pack of former street orphans has already graciously welcomed old Scruffy into their midst. Not long after arriving at our home, the now happily resurrected Scruffy was soon following my spouse all around, and he was cavorting about in our backyard with his new friends – who are all rescued street orphans themselves, and who also know just how brutal those mean city streets can be when you are hungry, homeless and all alone.
There are many abandoned and relinquished older dogs and cats being brought into animal shelters all across America. Please consider rescuing one of them, and giving them a second chance at life. See photos of Scruffy in the car and with his new friends.