Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on August 29, 2011. Enjoy!
I’m delighted to share a story from one of the most recent heroes to join in The Great Animal Rescue Chase tournament to save one million. His name is Ed Kostro from Illinois, and after testing his skills as a life saver many times in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he found himself back in the game again this past winter when he was called in to coax out a terrified homeless dog hiding out in a truck yard in a cold as sharp as nails…
By Ed Kostro of Illinois
He was first spotted hobbling down the road in the dead of winter, in the dead of night. It was obvious he was all alone in this world, with no home, no food, no love and probably not much of a chance of surviving much longer out in the bitter cold.
The compassionate young lady who first saw him on that dark icy road stopped her car and tried to coax him into it, and out of the extremely frigid weather. But his distrust of human beings was immense, and he soon turned away from her and hobbled off into the night.
Several days later, he was once again spotted in a huge truck yard, forlornly pacing back and forth among the dozens of trucks parked in it. The staff in the truck yard office soon took pity on this homeless canine, and they began putting out food and water out for him. They also phoned some animal rescuers in the area relaying his plight.
Surrounding Him in the Truck Yard
I soon got a phone call myself, and several of us met at the truck yard on a very frigid January morning. We were determined to help him, and it wasn’t very long before we spotted this truly unfortunate throw-a-way. He was emaciated, he was starving, he was freezing and he was deathly afraid of all of us.
We soon spread out and followed him all around the truck yard in the hopes of corralling him and whisking him off to warmth and safety. After several hours, we all very sadly gave up. His distrust and fear were just too great.
I thought about this poor canine all that night, and very early the next morning I decided to travel back to the truck yard with one of my huge dog traps. I set up my trap and baited it with hot dogs and dog food, and then retreated back to the warmth of my truck, to wait.
Unfortunately, it had snowed during the night and a bitter arctic wind was now blowing. After an hour with no sight of him, I realized that he must be hunkered down somewhere in that truck yard, attempting to stay out of the wind.
His Lair – A Deep Hole in the Frigid Ground
I got out of my truck, and now I began following his paw prints through the snow. They eventually led me to his lair, a deep hole in the frigid ground that he had scratched out under a parked semi-trailer.
I eventually spotted him lying in it, and I soon decided to crawl in there after him. He, of course, wanted no part of me, and he immediately scurried out from under the trailer on the opposite side.
Luckily, as he hobbled away from me in fear, he found the trail of hot dog bits I had placed all around the dog trap, and he just couldn’t resist the very enticing meal now awaiting him inside that trap. Within minutes, I heard the trap door snap shut, and I knew he had taken the bait.
This homeless orphan now spent the next week in a warm bed that I had made up for him in my garage. He would gratefully and eagerly gobble down the food I brought him every day, but he wouldn’t let me come anywhere near him. When I tried to, he would quickly scurry into some deep dark corner, cringing in absolute terror.
He Licked My Hand
It took seven days and nights for him to finally decide that I wasn’t going to harm him. On the eighth morning, as I placed his food next to his bed, he slowly hobbled out of it, and he very timidly licked my hand. His nightmare and his distrust had now finally ended.
I soon gently placed a leash around his neck, named him Trucker and whisked him off to the animal hospital. The vet couldn’t believe how emaciated he was, and how old he was. During his examination, he found several bruises on Trucker’s front legs, and several infected teeth.
He’d Been Hit By A Car
“It looks like he was hit by a car, and we need to pull some of those bad teeth. You’ll have to leave this poor old guy here for a few days.”
When I went back to fetch him, Trucker’s scrawny old tail immediately began wagging at the very sight of me, and he quickly rushed up to me with several enthusiastic doggy kisses. I now knew that I had another dog.
Meeting the Family
I took him home and I slowly introduced him to all of my other rescued mutts, who immediately accepted him in their midst. Orphans are like that; they very quickly know one of their own.
These days, old Trucker is happy, well-fed, warm, and now, my constant shadow. He follows me everywhere – even into the bathroom. And not a day goes by now in which he doesn’t shower me with numerous canine kisses of thanks.
What About You?
Have any rescue stories of your own? Leave it in the comments below.