The Artful Dodger
A Story of Abuse and Rescue
Dodger: Home with Dad
From Kingwood, Dodger was an owner relinquishment and a severe abuse case; his former owner called in tears to ask us to help get him out of a situation that was going to result in his death, and she knew it. He had been confined to the back yard that was mostly grass patches and dirt, with no food, water, or shelter; and he showed tragic signs of having been hit, kicked, chased, and possibly burned with cigarettes (note the scars on his muzzle). He is 3yo, 14", but when rescued weighed only 14#; he should weigh at least 20-22 pounds. Dodger is S/W with perfect Sheltie markings: full collar, pencil blaze, white socks. But he was skin and bones with no coat; in the beginning, he looked like a concentration camp survivor, was slowly starving to death, and we could not post pictures of him because they would have been too upsetting. Dodger was unneutered, heartworm positive, severely malnourished, and dehydrated. He had never been to a veterinarian in his life, and was afraid of car trips for a long time. We first treated him for fleas, vaccinated, bathed, and hydrated him; then encouraged him to eat small amounts. When he was stronger, we had him neutered and began heartworm treatment. Despite the abuse he'd known all his life and the confusion he was about to experience, he was very sweet and gentle, gazing into his rescuers' eyes with warmth and trust. Like so many abused dogs, Dodger understood from the beginning that he had been rescued and has been extremely responsive, causing his rescuer, foster mom, our clinic, and membership to fall hopelessly in love with him.
With time, love, and patience, Dodger began to eat well, play, bring his leash to his foster mom, and handle heartworm treatment with courage, though toward the end of the therapy we thought we might lose him as he became very ill. He recovered, though, with his foster mom sleeping beside him all that terrifying night. The next morning, he was a bit unsteady, but wagging his tail again. He is now cured, healthy, and was able to attend our anniversary party (pictures below).
Dodger was at first wary around men, probably because of the former abuse, but he has learned to trust again. He gets along beautifully with children and other dogs; loves cats and played non-stop with a resident kitty in his foster home. Dodger has a great Sheltie heart, and with his foster mom's loving care, his true Sheltie self has surfaced. Our profound gratitude to our clinics, Loop 494 Animal Hospital and Kingsland Animal Clinic, who took care of Dodger's urgent medical needs; and to Connie who loved Dodger so completely and saved his life with her constant care and many trips across the city for his medical attention.
Our precious Dodger has been adopted by his foster mom's brother and family: Charles and Freda Garrison, who drove to Houston to meet and fall in love with our miracle boy after following his progress through the web site and Connie's wonderful e-mail stories about her foster child. He now lives in Louisiana, and the family is already giving us updates and the delightful pictures above and below. We look forward to more stories and pictures as Dodger continues to progress in health, beauty, and confidence. Dodger is safe at last and in the adoring forever home he deserved all his life.
One Year After Rescue
Connie visited Dodger in February and took new pictures. She says he still bears the scars of his abuse on his face and always will; that he still is fearful of strangers the first few minutes, but now warms up more readily. He is completely devoted to Freda and Charles, who are clearly his adoring mom and dad. He is Senior Sheltie, Champ's, best friend. It is a tribute to his foster mom and wonderful family as well as his great heart that Dodger's story has become one of the victorious power of love.