Neglected pup gets a second chance at life

Neglected pup gets a second chance of life

Dozens of dogs can walk through Española Humane's doors on any given day, but it's rare to see one who physically can't.

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. – Dozens of dogs can walk through Española Humane’s doors on any given day, but it’s rare to see one who physically can’t.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog in that horrific state of neglect,” said Mattie Allen, director of communications for Española Humane.

Allen experienced a first early last month.

“We opened up the kennel in the truck, and I audibly gasped, it was – it was horrific. You couldn’t even tell it was a dog,” said Allen.

Animal control officers rescued him in Rio Arriba County where it was clear he’d been in a crate for a very long time. Beyond that his past is a mystery.

They named him Giuseppe, and the first priority was freeing him from the five pounds of matted fur weighing him down. 

“It just was this massive amount of hardened matted fur pulling his skin apart, and it was horrific,” Allen said. 

Giuseppe also needed a serious teeth cleaning, and had a bad cough and fluid in his lungs. They diagnosed him with cataracts and a thyroid issue, and estimate he’s about 10. 

“He had no social skills whatsoever. He didn’t understand that humans could be kind,” Allen said.

Allen brought him home after the shaving and X-rays to decompress, but it didn’t last long.

“It was hard to imagine who might want to adopt him, and then Donna called,” said Allen.

Donna Karr has a special place in her heart for senior dogs. 

“I saw his picture and I thought, yeah, I could fit another one,” said Karr.

Karr was the executive director of Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos until she retired last year. She has a current pack of five now – full of senior dogs she thought deserved a chance at a better life. 

“I just feel like this is my mission in life here,” Karr said. 

Giuseppe – who now goes by Joey – found his place within days. He’s on a weight loss journey, and takes daily thyroid medication.

“Some of them may last just a couple of weeks. Others may last a couple of years. But I just try to make sure that each one is comfortable and feels loved, and they have a good quality of life,” said Karr. 

There is no shortage of love for Joey. Beyond his new adopted mom are thousands of people who saw his story on the Dodo – an international outlet with millions of followers that shares animal-related stories from around the world.

“Being on the world stage in our little, our little shelter that could over here is, I’m so excited for our organization,” said Allen.

And for Joey in his new home.

“Even though I have a lot of turnover, it’s really a rewarding experience to see them just enjoy whatever time they have left.”

The Dodo picked up a second story from Española Humane this week. They featured Wilfred, whose permanent frown landed him 15 minutes of fame.

Wilfred also has some health issues and had a rough start to life, but also recently got adopted. 

Española Humane is in the middle of a fundraising campaign where some of its donors will match up to $325,000.