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The Specials: Adopting An Abandoned Dog

Some dogs, like some people, are more sensitive. They feel things more deeply and when wounded, they heal more slowly. Lucky is one of these dogs.

Lucky lived his first seven years with a young man in his twenties. But then the man married and his new wife (and her dog) did not like Lucky. Instead of trying to work through the issues, Lucky was abandoned in the backyard and spent a brutal midwest winter living outside by himself.

When the neighbors complained about his incessant barking, the couple finally decided to take him to a shelter. At the shelter’s request, they had Lucky neutered before dropping him off. Unfortunately, there were complications and he spent his first months in isolation healing from an infection caused by a botched neutering.

Rehoming and adopting an abandoned dog

Adopting An Abandoned Dog

Lucky grew more anxious and aggressive by the day. He desperately needed a foster home where he could heal emotionally as well physically, but no one was willing to risk taking him home. With no other options, Lucky was sent to a boarding facility where he was essentially isolated from other dogs as well as people. My friend, Steve, worked across the street from the kennel and would sometimes visit Lucky on his lunch break.

Steve remembers that Lucky was matted, skinny, and barked constantly. When anyone stepped towards him, his body stiffened and he prepared to lunge. And yet in spite of his aggression, his tail wagged and there was something in his eyes that cried for help.

Against all advice, Steve brought Lucky home to foster. He had two other dogs at the time as well as two cats and had no intention of adopting another dog with special needs. They started a training class, but Lucky was soon kicked out for nipping the instructor. He was unpredictable on walks and had a particular dislike for small dogs and young women wearing dark colors. Steve says the first two years were incredibly stressful, but with the help of a dedicated dog walker, they worked through his issues and his aggression lessoned.

Rescuing a dog who was abandoned and then adopting him

Lucky is sixteen years old now. He is partially blind and deaf and has mellowed with age. Steve credits being a valued member of a loving pet family with Lucky’s recovery. He knows where he belongs and he now feels safe, secure and wanted.

When I visited Lucky, I didn’t except him to let me near. I was prepared to photograph him with my zoom lens from several feet away. But instead, Lucky followed me around the yard and just wanted to snuggle – so much so that it was almost impossible to photograph him because he wanted to be so close.

Many assume dogs, cats, and other animals are incapable of experiencing loss, joy, sadness and love. Or, because they can’t express themselves verbally, their feelings are not considered valid or real. Lucky and others like him are proof this is not the case. Abandoned pets feel deeply and live with and suffer the consequences of loss long after their former guardians have walked away.

Find out how Lucky found a forever home after being abandoned in a backyard for years.

Pets, like children, are for life. Please do not adopt an animal if you are unable or unwilling to provide a lifetime of loving and compassionate care. If you are ready for adoption, please consider adopting or fostering a special needs dog because second chances are amazing whether you are on the giving or receiving side.

Rescuing and adopting an abandoned dog

Lucky  is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here



  1. Mitch and Molly
    January 11, 2016 / 10:06 am

    We are so happy for Lucky! Bless Steve♥

  2. Julie
    January 11, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Awww, did you give Lucky lots of snuggles? I am glad Lucky found a luffing homeLoves and licky kissesPrincess Leah xx

  3. Mark Muller
    January 11, 2016 / 11:25 am

    I'm so sad that Lucky had such a hard time. It's a little like cinderella who had to bear such a kind of a stepmother too. I'm glad Lucky now is the lucky one…

  4. Marg
    January 11, 2016 / 11:30 am

    What a great story. We are so glad that Steve took on Lucky and gave him a home. That poor dog. I saw this happen with a cat that lived next door to me . The people just left him on their porch with no food or anything and he was not a happy cat. Eventually I got him to come over here to eat and he got so he almost trusted me. Then he got cancer.Anyway, this is such a great story.

  5. Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs
    January 11, 2016 / 11:43 am

    Poor lucky – our hearts go out to this little sheltie and we hope he has a happy retirement

  6. The Menagerie Mom
    January 11, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    Many kudos to Steve! Dogs like Lucky deserve every chance they can get, and if not for people like Steve they wouldn't get that much deserved chance at a loving life. Thank for you yet another profound story of animal rescue.

  7. Oz theTerrier
    January 11, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    I am so glad Steve was there for Lucky. It sounds like he overcame a lot of obstacles to become the loving dog he is today! I hate when people are so mindless and cruel. A pet is for LIFE!

  8. Amber DaWeenie
    January 11, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Oz says it well….A pet is a lifetime commitment, not just for a little while as long as it's convenient. We have done many rescues of "unwanted" animals and they are the most loyal, dedicated, and loving pets we have had. Thank you for this post today.

  9. Yamini MacLean
    January 11, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    Hari OMI love this series you are giving us – and all thinking critters have a sense of emotions – may not equate to that of a human's but it is DEFINITELY there!!! YAM xx

  10. Dory and the Mama
    January 11, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    What a wonderful and happy ending. Thanks to Steve for helping Lucky rediscover love.

  11. Madi and Mom
    January 11, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    Thank goodness Lucky's luck changed with the loving care of Steve. If I live to be 100 I will never understand the mentality of Lucky's first owner. Pets are for life….PERIOD…not for as long as it is convenient!!Thank you for this post.Hugs cecilia

  12. stellaroselong
    January 11, 2016 / 4:15 pm

    Steve has a heart of gold, and what a wonderful little dog is sweet lucky. I think they both were lucky to find each other.stella rose

  13. LP
    January 11, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    It's difficult to imagine having a pet for seven years, a loyal companion, and rewarding him by literally throwing him out into the cold. Sigh. We are happy for Lucky that he was given a chance to be loved properly by Steve.Thanks for all your hard work Steve!We have begun narrating Isadora's story on our blog ..thought you might enjoy reading it!the critters in the cottage xo

  14. Sketching with Dogs
    January 11, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    What a hearbreaking story. So glad Lucky eventually got the home he deserved. It makes me so angry to read about things like this, what is wrong with people?! If someone told me they didn't like my dog they would be out the door.Lynne x

  15. Millie and Walter
    January 11, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Thank Dog for Steve. He gave Lucky a chance to live his life in a loving home.

  16. Frankie Furter and Ernie
    January 11, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    There is a VERY SPECIAL place for STEVE… Bless his KIND and Loving Heart!! We are so happy that this had such a Marvelous ending for Lucky.

  17. 24 Paws of Love
    January 11, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    People used to look at me like I was crazy when I would tell them about Brut's puppyhood with his breeder and the irreversable damage it did to Brut. I didn't fully understand the impact it had on Brut until I had the puppies and it really sunk in and made sense. It was so very challenging with Brut and his aggressions and such, but we were in it for the long haul, even when it hurt so bad I wanted to quit. So glad Lucky had Steve and vice versa. What a dear soul to take Lucky in. Now he's home.

  18. Idaho PugRanch
    January 11, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    These stories are tearing at my heart. I don't understand pet owners that "throw away" their family members. Thank you Steve for giving Lucky a place to belong and be lovedhugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  19. sprinkles
    January 11, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    Shiver is very much like Lucky in that he feels things deeply. Lucky's first owner should never have a pet. I hate when people leave their dogs outside 24/7 and once reported a neighbor for doing just that. I'm glad Lucky's story had a happy ending.

  20. da tabbies o trout towne
    January 11, 2016 / 10:49 pm

    ruby….thanx for sharin lucky's storee….dood…thanx for sharin yur storee with ruby…..we R troo lee troo lee sorree, life dealt ya thiz kinda blow….high paws N headbonx….{ which iz a good thing } two yur dad steve & blessings two him ten fold…..N bye de way…yur one handsome pup !!! ♥♥♥

  21. The Island Cats
    January 11, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    What a terrible thing to have happened to Lucky. We're SO glad Steve gave Lucky the home he so deserved.

  22. Murphy
    January 12, 2016 / 12:02 am

    Poor Lucky, he did not live up to his name but if he gets a furever home then his name will be true!Keep Calm & Bark On!Murphy & Stanley

  23. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    January 12, 2016 / 12:41 am

    We have been thoroughly your recent posts even if we didn't get to comment often. We thank Steve for his kind heart in giving Lucky the chance he so needed. The world needs more Steves for all the Luckys out there.Woos – Ciara and Lightning

  24. Groovy Goldendoodles
    January 12, 2016 / 1:04 am

    WOW! What a story, and how fitting the name.

  25. Bobbi and Gracie
    January 12, 2016 / 3:23 am

    What a wonderful story!! Lucky is beautiful, just beautiful. Steve is so special to dedicate himself to helping these poor wounded pets. Lucky is indeed lucky to have been saved by him. Thanks for sharing this special story.

  26. Ziggy Stardust
    January 12, 2016 / 4:48 am

    Thank you for this great series you are doing. There is someone out there for all of us, it is just that some of us have to wait so long for a good life. I am truly a lucky pup.Ziggy Out!!

  27. Sweet William The Scot
    January 12, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Lee cannot imagine just walking away from an animal you have had for seven years. How could your heart not bond with an animal during that time. Humans are a constant state of perplexity or uncertainty to Lee thank the Lord for people like your friend Steve who was strong enough to stick in there during the tough time. Lucky was one lucky dog that Steve was a keeper.Thanks for being a friendSweet William The Scot

  28. The Green Dogs
    January 12, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    I'm so glad that Lucky got the happy ending that he deserved. He looks like a lovely chap. 🙂

  29. Jean Dion
    January 12, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    That is quite a transformation! How absolutely wonderful to see that pup blossom and learn to trust. Warms my heart. Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  30. 2 Punk Dogs
    January 13, 2016 / 3:05 am

    His name finally fit after Steve brought him home. Great to know that Lucky has been in a great home for years now!

  31. pilch92 15andmeowing
    January 13, 2016 / 3:55 am

    I am glad Lucky was rescued. I believe all pets are forever pets no matter what problems we have, we make it work. Thank you for the kind words you left on my blog about the loss of Stinky.

  32. meowmeowmans
    January 13, 2016 / 3:57 am

    There's a perfect home for every dog. Hooray for Lucky and Steve. 🙂

  33. Tweedles -- that's me
    January 13, 2016 / 5:03 am

    This is a beautiful story!lovetweedles

  34. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    January 14, 2016 / 1:39 am

    While I have many bad thoughts for his first family I am very happy to see the way his new family has made him a loving part of their group

  35. Cathy Armato
    January 20, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    I love Lucky's adoption story! Steve is clearly a compassionate and patient animal lover. Lucky is such a beautiful dog, his former owners clearly weren't responsible; the fact that Lucky wasn't even neutered is proof of that. I'm so happy for Lucky, thanks for sharing this uplifting story.Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  36. Three Chatty Cats
    March 13, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    What a wonderful post and message. Looking forward to reading this series. I can't believe people would just give up on a dog because it doesn't get along with another. I wonder why some people get pets to begin with. I'm glad that Lucky ended up with a kind, caring and compassionate human being. It breaks my heart to know that's not the ending for all abandoned dogs (and cats). We need more people like Steve!

  37. McGuffy Ann Morris
    March 14, 2016 / 1:44 am

    Tears…I love this very special story…*sniffle* Thank you, all of you. Bless Lucky's heart. ❤

  38. Denise Gruzensky
    March 14, 2016 / 3:35 am

    Such an inspiring story of Lucky and his hoomans!! Our Shasta was a stray found on the streets. When he 1st became part of our family he didn't even know how to be held (he is a small dog). In the years since he cuddles and just wants to be close. He has also, mostly, overcome his fear of larger dogs. Thank you for shining light on such important issues of rescuing pets with special needs!!

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