Read this and other awesome rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Boxers.
Featured Rescue: Heart of Ohio Boxer Rescue
Love Moves Mountains… And Lifts Dogs
One of the most heart-wrenching experiences in my 30 years of doing rescue was also one of the most rewarding. I had ventured out on a rather dreary winter day to get some dog food and other small items, including bread and single-wrapped cheese, when my phone rang with a call from a woman who had a rescue emergency. She said she was from a construction company with office space in a large complex. When she arrived at work that day, she heard a noise under the deck and discovered a Boxer-looking dog huddled in the far back corner.
I arrived at the complex to find a crowd of onlookers, though no one had attempted to help the dog under the deck. I got down on my 70+ year-old hands and knees and saw he was about 20 feet away from me, as far under the deck as he could get. I asked if anyone could crawl back in there and offered to direct them on what to do, but nobody wanted to help.
With no alternative, I fetched a blanket and some cheese from my car and asked if someone could at least pull me out on the blanket once I leashed the dog (my hands would be too full to crawl out). But again nobody would help. Desperate, I asked, “Could one of you gentleman please go get the lady who called me?” Apparently that was easy enough.
At least the woman who had called was helpful. She and another lady prepared themselves to pull me out on the blanket, as I went spelunking under the deck. The ceiling was low and the space claustrophobic. When I came close enough to throw the dog some cheese, I noticed he was emaciated and dirty, and he was dragging something on his left front leg. As I crawled closer and offered more cheese, I saw what was bothering him—his leg was caught in a trap!
The dog appeared to be in severe pain, but I could almost bet he was not going to hurt me because his tail would wag from time to time. I put a whole piece of cheese in my mouth and said in a mumbled voice, “Okay boy, I am not going to hurt you if I can help it.” I got right up in his face, and he took the cheese out of my mouth. At that point I knew I was going to get him out of there.
I asked the ladies to pull slowly on each corner of the blanket. I needed to hold the leash in one hand and the trap up off the ground in the other so it wouldn’t cause the dog additional pain, so the women had heavy, dead weight to pull. The bystanders still just stood around, gaping, as the women hauled us out from under the deck. And when it came time to ask for help lifting the dog into my car, I wasn’t surprised to again find myself alone.
Well, this Boxer boy needed a vet, and I was going to get him to one, with or without help! I really do not know where the strength came from, but I counted to three, said a quick prayer, and up into the car went the dog (trap and all).
It was almost quitting time when I arrived at the vet, so no specialists were available to see the dog. None of the remaining people were strong enough to remove the trap, so they gave him pain meds and sent us off to another veterinary office that could help us immediately.
I went inside to get help removing the dog from my car at the next vet and, in the few seconds I was gone, the dog managed to eat most of the cheese and almost half of the bread loaf! This guy was definitely hungry. After removing the trap and giving him a careful examination, the vet decided to keep the Boxer for a few days. He updated the dog on vaccines, gave him antibiotics, fed him, and tried to restore some blood flow to his damaged leg. It didn’t look too promising, but good nutrition and antibiotics would give the dog a better chance of getting through surgery.
While the Boxer was recuperating at the vet’s office, I had some time to look into the dog license he was wearing when I found him. As his story unraveled, his past became more and more distressing. It turns out the dog had been found by police in an empty house with a torn bag of dog food after the neighbors called them about a dog crying. He was taken to the pound, where he was then released back to his owners after they simply updated their dog license (no questions asked.) So after obtaining the family’s new address from the pound, I zipped over to their house unannounced.
The family met me at the door and appeared very sad when I told them I had their dog. They lied directly to my face, saying that their Boxer had gotten away from them when they were at the library. I suggested we go to the vet to discuss their dog’s injuries, stuck them in my car so they couldn’t flake out, and we were on our way.
The family’s reaction upon hearing the costs of caring for their injured dog was typical. They immediately began complaining that they couldn’t afford to pay that kind of money “for a dog.” Having experienced similar situations many times I knew just what to do…
I took the family (both adults and their two children) to McDonald’s. They thought we were only having lunch, but I was actually about to give them just what they wanted—a way to get out of caring for the family pet they never should have had. As we finished our lunch, I said, “Would you like me to take Boxer boy and pay for his care since you’re unable to?”
“Oh yes, we would,” they answered (big surprise), and I just happened to have an owner release form with me, ready for them to sign. With our business together through, I returned the family back to their home and have not heard from them since.
The Boxer had surgery to remove his left front leg (including the shoulder). To this day he remains one of the most wonderful Boxers I have ever known and is everybody’s friend (both human and animal). Oh, and he’s not just anybody’s Boxer boy anymore… He’s my Clayton.