Senior Golden Retriever Survives Horrendous Neglect, Makes Amazing Transformation

rescue-dog-chronThere's nothing I love more than reading awesome rescue dog stories. So as part of my blog, I'm going to be sharing with you some of my favorite rescue stories from over the years!

I've been rescuing dogs from high-kill shelters and neglectful owners for close to a decade now, and their stories still bring a smile to my face. So here's the first chapter in my "Rescue Dog Chronicles." Enjoy!

Tuck, the day I picked him up from the shelter.

The first story that came to my mind was one my favorite dogs over the years, 'Tuck Everlasting.' I was doing a transport at Walton County Animal Control, and made the classic mistake of 'just taking a peek' at the other dogs still waiting at the shelter. I immediately saw Tuck, an emaciated golden retriever who was covered in oozing sores and was missing almost all his hair. And yet, that tail never stopped wagging! I made him a promise that I would be back for him.

The odds of a senior dog making it out of a small municipal shelter alive aren't good. The odds of a senior dog with major medical problems making it out are even worse. But I was determined that Tuck would overcome those odds.

I reached out to my friends at Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta, and they immediately agreed to take him in. Thanks to several amazing volunteers, he had a foster home lined up and a vet appointment made.

Tuck's body condition when first rescued.

Tuck's body condition when first rescued.

He was the first dog who ever made me cry when I picked him up from the shelter. He was in the worst shape I've ever seen a dog in, and it broke my heart that he spent the majority of his life in neglect. The worst part was that he was wearing a collar. Someone let him get to this point.

He was weak, smelled like rotten flesh, and trembled as I lifted his frail body into the backseat of my car, but he still managed to give me tons of kisses on the ride to the vet. I knew this was going to be one special dog.

It took months and months for Tuck to recover. In addition to needing to gain significant weight, he had to have 6 fractured teeth removed and he was suffering from horrific bacterial infections that were resistant to 13 types of antibiotics. He again overcame unbelievable odds when we found out that he was heartworm negative and had otherwise perfect bloodwork.

I had the honor of briefly looking after Tuck until his foster was able to pick him up, and he was a humbling reminder of a dog's ability to bounce back. He was wonderful with my dogs and cat, and flopped down immediately in the biggest and softest dog bed he could find. His infectious joy carried on to his later foster homes, and eventually his forever home.

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Tuck after his amazing transformation!

Thanks to the love and care of the amazing volunteers at GRRA (special thanks to Sara, Karen, and Elizabeth!) and their incredible vet staff, Tuck has made a full recovery and is living out his golden years in the most wonderful adoptive home. It's hard to believe that's the same dog!

Stay tuned next week for another amazing rescue dog story from my "Rescue Dog Chronicles"!

Want more Tuck? Follow him on Facebook for more pictures and updates!


Left: Tuck with one of his adoptive family members. Right: Photos of Tuck's recovery.

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Positively Expert: Alex Andes

Alex Andes is the owner and head trainer of Peach on a Leash Dog Training & Behavior Services in Atlanta, GA.


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