Abuser too scared to even walk upright gets a second chance

Dogs that hoard or survive severe neglect often develop anxiety and trust issues through no fault of their own. With kindness, support and patience, these dogs can learn to trust again and show off their true, loving personalities.

When 80 dogs were rescued from a case of neglect in Florida, it took collaboration between rescues to ensure that these dogs all had a chance to start over. One of those dogs, Huck, went from being too scared to get up to finding a loving home.


A Traumatized Dog Too Afraid to Get Up

The shot of 80 dogs arrived at Santa Rosa County Animal Services, an open-entry shelter, when they were already full. The BISSELL Pet Foundation stepped in to organize a statewide emergency response. They contacted other rescue groups and shelters across the state and took in some of the animals from Santa Rosa County.

Huck ended up at Citrus County Animal Services. Due to his troubled past, Huck couldn’t even walk upright. The poor, frightened dog crawled around while on a leash.


Colleen M. Yarbrough, director of animal services at Citrus County Animal Services, told PEOPLE:

“When Huck arrived at the shelter, he was very quiet and anxious. This behavior was probably the result of the improper care he had received. He seemed very grateful to his rescuers and knew we were here to help him; he would curl up on your lap with just a little coaxing.

After a few days at CCAS, Huck started opening up. This dog overcame his troubling past caring for patient, understanding rescuers.

“It was great to see Huck’s personality blossom. He remained a quiet boy, but he came out of his shell and showed us all what a sweet, loving dog he really is,” Yarborough added.

Huck meets his eternal person

In February 2022, the BISSELL Pet Foundation hosted a discounted “Empty the Shelters” adoption event for Santa Rosa County Animal Services and the shelters that collected pets from the facility with capacity. BISSELL paid for all adoption costs for the 11 shelters that attended the event and helped 290 pets find forever homes. One of those lucky animals was Huck!

Pamela Rice met Huck at the adoption event. She described the moment when their relationship became permanent:

“When I went in to see the dogs, I said a prayer because we wanted a smaller dog. So I said to God, ‘If there’s a dog there that I should have, I’ll take it.’ Huck followed me into the store and I knew it was him and I’ve been blessed every day ever since.”


Huck now lives with someone who cares about him, and he also has a dog brother named Beau and a cat brother named Underfoot. Hopefully he never feels the need to crawl again.

A happy ending that came from collaboration

An important conclusion from this story is how rescuers work together to save more lives. Yarborough said:

“We hope Huck’s story helps others realize that animal welfare concerns are community-wide issues that require the collaboration of many different people and agencies.”

Huck’s story also proves what great pet abuse survivors can do with patience and love.

“Huck is a wonderful example of a dog that, based on breed, age and/or condition, can be abandoned in a shelter despite being a wonderful family pet with so much love to give. We are honored to be a part of his story and hope it will help others to be more open about selecting their new family members.”

If you can, consider adopting an abuse survivor and giving him the life he deserves.

H/T: People
Featured Image: Facebook

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