We love our precious pups so much that it’s hard to fathom that someone would deliberately hurt their dog. But that was once the reality for a southern Husky mix named Willow.
Once obviously unwanted and inhumanely chained up and mistreated, this gorgeous girl is now living her best life, being trained to become a service dog, and will be paired with a combat veteran with PTSD.
Willow’s story begins like far too many others. She was once the victim of unthinkable animal cruelty that was purposely perpetrated by her owner.
But lucky for her, these deliberate acts were witnessed and reported to authorities who could step in and save her. Someone saw that she was chained up and left outside all alone, and she was starved to the point of resembling a walking skeleton. In fact, she was so skinny that it was a wonder she could stand at all.
Once her circumstances and health status were reported, the Murray County Animal Shelter director Julie Wynn teamed up with police to not only step in and save her but to have her former owner arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
“The exciting part for me to see is they picked her up Thursday. Monday morning, the judge swore out the warrant and he was arrested Wednesday morning all in less than a week,” said Janice, the founder of animal aid organization, Perry’s Promise.
Perry’s Promise is a non-profit animal aid organization that works to eliminate the number of unwanted animals that are dumped, abandoned, abused, and euthanized.
When Willow arrived at the shelter, she was in really rough shape. She was so sick that she was practically knocking on death’s door. But lucky for her, multiple animal lovers pulled together to help nurse her back to health.
“Willow was so sick, that I could only feed her two teaspoons of food at a time, every hour. Sometimes she even threw that up,” says shelter director, Julie Wynn.
But slowly, and because she was being treated with lots of love, Willow grew from a walking skeleton at 20 pounds to a healthy 55-pound dog. Once she was finally feeling a bit better, her amazing personality really started to shine. She was calm, minimally reactive to noises and smells, sweet, and gentle. It was obvious that she would make not only an excellent canine companion but that she would likely excel if given an incredibly important job.
“I just saw how exceptional she is and as soon as she was released for adoption I contacted Warrior Freedom Dogs because I knew she’d be an excellent service dog. She’s just such a good dog,” said Janice.
Janice contacted Julie Jones-Thornton, the training director for Warrior Freedom Service Dogs in Flintstone, and she came to visit Willow and do an assessment. Warrior Freedom Service Dogs trains dogs to help U.S. military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Despite being mistreated and abused and having every reason to be wary of humans, Willow loves people and has the perfect temperament to be a service dog for a veteran.
Now, Willow’s future is looking so bright. She is currently training to be a service dog and will live the rest of her life by her human’s side, being completely smothered in love.
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