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It was November 2019 at Euclid Pet Pals/Euclid Animal Shelter when a dog came into our care that forever changed our hearts. On that day, the temperatures only reached the 30s, with a frigid wind chill which made your bones cringe every time you stepped outside. There was a cloudy sky hanging over your head and expected snow later in the day. Our Animal Control Officer received a call from a concerned citizen, and she quickly rushed to the scene.
She peered into the bushes to see this severely emaciated lifeless dog laying there waiting for death to take him. He was so emaciated that you could see his whole skeletal body frame, with not an ounce of weight on him. He couldn’t lift his head, let alone move. Our Animal Control Officer and helper picked him up, horrified at the condition of this dog, and immediately rushed him to a local vet. We were shocked to find out that he was only 7-months-old, a puppy. How could someone so carelessly care for this living breathing innocent soul, who has nothing but loyalty and love to give? He weighed only 15 pounds, a dog that should’ve weighed around 40-50 pounds average for that age.
His body temperature was so cold that the vet couldn’t get a reading on what his temperature was. We quickly knew that he needed more emergent, around the clock care, and we rushed him to an animal hospital 30 minutes away. He was named Rocky because the way he looked at all the people trying to help him told us and them that he had a fight still left in him and he had a heart full of love to give. He gave kisses and weak tail wags as he was being carried out of the bushes and when the veterinary staff helped him. This was most likely the first act of compassion and love he had ever felt.
They immediately started treating Rocky. He began suffering seizures as he was treated, from all the trauma his small body endured. X-rays showed his seven months has been full of neglect. It took a few days for him able to be stand up, and he remained at the hospital for some time.
He went into a foster home over the next few months. Rocky loved curling up on beds way too small for him but he loved that close secure feeling around him. He learned that if he gave puppy dog eyes, he could get all the treats he wanted. He slowly and steadily gained weight, learning what it’s like to be carefree and play. He played and in return got belly scratches! Rocky quickly picked up on multiple commands and flourished, having a routine.
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Finding a Loving Home
After four months, Rocky was ready for his next chapter…a furever home! There was a woman who reached out to us about potentially adopting him. She stumbled across his post via Facebook and was such a kindred spirit to Rocky. Shelly and her grandchildren came up for a visit to meet Rocky, and it was quickly realized that they were meant to be. They all sat on the floor of the shelter for an hour playing with Rocky, giving him love and the grandkids sneaking him a lot of treats, of course! Shelly was so gentle with him and he went right to her.
They adopted him and renamed him Bo! He is now loved by Shelly and her husband, grandchildren and everyone who visits! He has some four-footed fur siblings and even some cow friends! He loves taking over the whole couch! He continues his training and is now able to be off leash completely. Bo still knows how to work those puppy dog eyes for treats, but who could blame him for loving treats? He has a new “trick” of standing by his dad when he is grilling in hopes that a scrap or two will fall if he looks at it hard enough! To say that Bo is spoiled is an understatement! He went from the bushes to a property to roam, with a roof over his head and more love than we could ever describe with words.
As a volunteer, you get cases of dogs that have a lasting impact in your heart, cases that make you question life itself and how could it be so cruel sometimes. However, when you look through the eyes of Bo – a puppy that was barely alive and experienced so much trauma, pain, starvation and torment and see how resilient he was through it and you hear updates about him – you can’t help but believe that miracles exist.
Maybe the world won’t know Bo’s story, but for anyone involved in his case, they will remember the dog who just wouldn’t give up and that makes our hearts whole. When you work, volunteer or assist in a shelter, you sadly sometimes know that not every story ends like Bo’s, but it’s stories like his that keeps you fighting for those happy endings and giving your all to every dog that comes through those shelter doors. Be a voice for the voiceless, be a strength for the weak, and be the heart that gives loves for those who never experienced it because love is the only house and Bo’s family proves that.
Story submitted by Kyrieeleison Brickman.
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