Not only people but animals too can get down in the dumps and be seemingly impossible to help. But you know what? The heart of kindness can melt anything and transform a negative situation into a positive one. You’ll need to bear with us on this story, for although it starts out tough—it’s got an ending that’ll probably leave you feeling pretty uplifted.
In early February, a dog was found tied up in the woods near Dalton, Georgia. The dog, named Stewart, was taken to Whitfield County Animal Shelter, but his rehabilitation wasn’t going to be an easy one. The poor thing was so scarred by his experience with a cruel human that he’d growl at anyone who tried to come near him, despite their good intentions.
That’s when photographer Rebecca Rood came on the scene. She found Stewart and took his photo to share his dismal story on Facebook.
“It was like he didn’t want to be seen, [as] if by burying himself in the wall maybe we would go away,” Rood told The Dodo. “It was truly heartbreaking to see.”
Not only did Stewart not allow anyone to pat him, but he was in constant discomfort because of a leather belt that had been fastened around his neck, which was initially attached to a chain that was tied to a tree at the spot where he was abandoned.
The leather belt made it very uncomfortable for Stewart, but nobody could remove it as the dog would growl if anyone got near.
After Rood posted Stewart’s story online, Courtney Bellew, director of Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation (SNARR), saw the photos.
“I saw that one picture of his face against the wall, and I said, ‘I’ll take him,’” Bellew recalled.
Bellew paid Stewart a visit and saw that shelter life wasn’t doing him any favors.
“He didn’t want to be bothered, didn’t want to be touched,” Bellew explained. “He would growl, and then he would just go hide in the corner, and turn his face against the wall. He was totally terrified and shut down.”
“Clearly this dog had a very rough past,” Bellew said. “I don’t think we’ll ever know what he actually went through, but the way he was found is a good indication that he had a pretty horrible life up until he was rescued.”
Bellew took Stewart from the shelter and sent him to a veterinary clinic, where he was sedated and had the leather belt removed from his neck.
“It was as if that belt around his neck was the burden of his past,” Bellew said. “The minute they removed it and he woke up from anesthesia, it was like he opened up. He was playing and wagging his tail.”
Yet, he still hadn’t fully overcome his mental difficulties. There was still some progress to make.
“He would get so stressed anytime anyone would go near him, so they said, ‘You know what? Let’s just let him chill out and decompress,’” Bellew said. “So for the first few days, nobody even tried to get near him. They didn’t try to push him at all.”
After that, Stewart recognized his rescuers for the kindhearted people they were, and started warming up to them.
“He really took to one of the handlers,” Bellew said. “It just seems that he really needs to be shown love.”
Now that the rescuers were able to approach the rehabilitated canine and care for him properly, Stewart’s recovery took an incredible leap forward. Stewart chirped right up—his tail was wagging as he played with a little toy.
Stewart was coming out of his shell.
“Seeing him play with a toy has been the most amazing thing for me,” Bellew said. “He went from putting his head against the wall of a concrete corner because he just wanted to crawl away from the world … to playing with toys and giving his paw and wagging his tail. He’s made amazing improvements.”
When videos showing a much happier Stewart emerged, Rood, the photographer who could only recall Stewart in the sad state when he was first found, was amazed.
“I cried when [Bellew] sent me the recent videos,” she remarked. “The progress is amazing.”
“I think that he’s going to need a very patient adopter, and I don’t think he can just go into any home,” Bellew says. “I think he needs somebody with some training experience with fearful dogs. I would love him to go to a quiet, adult-only home, and preferably without other dogs.”
Now that Stewart is feeling more like a dog, it’s time for him to find a new home, and he is currently up for adoption. Let’s hope he’s paired with a loving owner who shows him what life is ought to be like for a dog.
Source: The Dodo.