by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every month.
In the boxing ring of life, it’s not how hard you can hit, but rather how many times you can get hit and keep moving forward. -Rocky Balboa
A boxer is a different breed of athlete. For some experts, boxing is considered to be the sport that demands the most from its contenders. It requires strength, endurance, power, determination, and the will to survive. As mentally exhausting as it is physically, climbing in that ring commands a great deal of confidence. In Rocky, Sylvester Stallone’s title character goes from guzzling raw eggs and living in a studio the size of a coat closet to being the greatest boxing champion in the world. In Million Dollar Baby, a cantankerous Clint Eastwood takes his rookie ‘Maggie’ from a white trash trailer park to a knockout sensation just barely clinging to life.
Earlier this month, out on a long stretch of country road, another kind of boxer was also hanging on by a thread. Without food, water, or shelter she roamed the city as a lonely drifter. Abandoned, weak, and all alone her final round was just a sunset away. But that last bell hadn’t rung yet, and this girl was not going down without a fight.
‘Missy’ is that lonesome Boxer dog, who was found wandering along an orchard-lined street in Orange Cove. Knowing that cars mean people, and people usually mean treats, she was desperately approaching the oncoming traffic. It’s a miracle she didn’t get hit. One of those drivers was Laura Carter, a Good Samaritan who saw the distressed animal and pulled over to help. What she saw was an extremely emaciated dog, with mucus-filled eyes and a scar-riddled body, basically starving to death. Having only some Babybel cheese packs and a little water, she offered them to Missy, who eagerly devoured the snacks. Laura says after the dog consumed that small handful of much needed food, she could hear Missy’s tummy growling, as if begging for more. The grateful pooch followed her newfound friend back to the car, and allowed herself to be lifted into the passenger seat. As her ragged ribs heaved up and down, Missy began snoring within just a few minutes.
For Laura, this act of kindness was a no-brainer; she already has a rescue dog of her own at home. But now that she had saved this pathetic creature, obviously in need of urgent medical care, what did she do? Hesitant to take her home, she frantically called Animal Control, but had no luck. Laura then phoned several veterinarians, but none were willing to bill her for their services; it was all payment up front. Refusing to be deterred, she finally called a local animal sanctuary, Noah’s Friends, for advice. Even though Noah’s owner was out of town, she listened carefully to Laura’s plight and immediately tried to find an available foster home. She was able to contact Linda Guthrie at Animal Rescue of Fresno, who was more than willing to accept the frail survivor. I wasn’t there the day Missy was brought into ARF, but I was told by others that upon her arrival, she collapsed in a weary heap onto the floor. If not rescued by Laura that afternoon, she may have just laid her tired body down in one of those fruit-filled groves and silently crossed the Rainbow Bridge alone.
But just like a typical boxer, Missy’s strength and will to live brought out the true fighter in her spirit. Her first few days were safely spent in ARF’s office, snuggled in the cuddly confines of a blanket-lined crate. Under the watchful eyes of our wonderful volunteers, she was fed small meals throughout the day, taken outside for potty breaks, and was smothered in a river of kisses by everyone involved. Though a bit cautious on her spindly legs, she happily explored the great indoors, including the carrot chomping tenants of the bunny condo, and showed great interest in our laundry room felines. I cannot say the cats share her curiosity. Missy slowly began to show signs of improvement, including weight gain, and the healing of her infected eyes. She is currently on antibiotics, but per the vet’s instructions, is unable to undergo any vaccines or receive medications, until she is a bit stronger. Missy was moved outside to a small kennel of her own, and then into a larger one shortly thereafter. Her champion, Laura, has visited her several times, and is happy to report that she’s “growing into her Dollar Store collar.”
Heroes always have their scars. Some you can see, some you read about later on. -George Foreman
Last Saturday, I spent some time with Laura in Missy’s spacious new enclosure. It’s crystal clear that the bond between them is something quite extraordinary. Missy enjoys the gentle stroking down her tender back, and Laura marvels at the playfulness and joy this affectionate Boxer exudes. It’s amazing what a bit of love and attention can do for an animal that has never experienced it. It’s disturbingly obvious that Missy has endured much suffering and heartache at the cruel hands of criminals. Believed to be around 2-years old, she was probably over-bred, undoubtedly starved, and in light of those dozens of scars, was most likely used as a “bait” dog. Unfortunately, the dog fighting industry is still alive and well, even though the animals they abuse really have no life at all. But for all the pain and agony Missy’s been through, you would expect her to be terribly frightened of people in general, or have a temperament as mean as the Devil himself. Neither scenario is true. She’s sweet as a summer peach, and despite experiencing the horrors that only humans can inflict, Missy has demonstrated something virtually impossible…forgiveness.
If you would like to contribute to Missy’s recovery at ARF, please visit Laura Carter’s Go Fund Me page to make a donation.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue.