We may never know the full details of what happened to Wonder Boy, and the abuse he clearly endured, but we know the most important part – he survived.
Wonder Boy was dumped with another dog on a vacant property. The abandoned dogs were left without food, water, or shelter. They grew desperate and eventually began to prey on each other, with Wonder Boy taking the brunt. But a weeks ago, an anonymous caller reported the situation to the police and both dogs were brought to Animal Care and Control.
“I have rescued many bait dogs. And Wonder Boy was worse than any bait dog I have ever seen,” says Tina Petraline, president of Unbreakabull Bullies. “There’s definitely more to this story. For sure.”Wonder Boy had fresh wounds on top of scar tissue. Both ears were damaged; his left ear had a chunk missing and his right ear was crumpled over from scar tissue. His eyes were cut up and there were puncture wounds over most of his body. The medical team aged him at about two-years-old and estimated that he had been living in these conditions for a year, possibly longer.
Saving Wonder Boy and Other Abused Dogs
Wonder Boy’s story is heartbreaking, but sadly only unique in its brutality. Over 9,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every day – many of them abandoned pets, offspring of abandoned pets, and/or pit bulls and pit mixes. Thousands of others are abandoned on city streets, in the woods, along highways, or simply left behind when their guardians move. Left to fend for themselves, many starve or are killed by cars, predators, or sadistic individuals.
We are a throwaway nation and what we no longer find useful or interesting we toss away like trash – believing it will magically disappear along with our responsibility. Whether it is takeout containers or pets, when we are finished, we are finished and someone else can clean up the mess.
While most states have laws against animal cruelty, they are not always firmly enforced. And in some states, abandoning pets is not considered an act of cruelty. Legally, companion animals are regarded as property and have few or no legal rights of their own.
Wonder Boy’s story spread quickly, and within 24 hours of rescue he was on his way to a foster home in Iowa with Unbreakabull Bullies. Several weeks later his bandages are off, his staples are out, he is gaining weight, and his fur is beginning to grow back. He loves toys (especially balls), cuddling with his foster mom, and has already learned basic commands like sit and leave it.
“Everything is new to him and he gets overwhelmed sometimes,” Tina says. “But he is very sweet and smart and I feel honored to help him.”
Wonder Boy will spend another week with Tina and then move to a new foster home for additional healing and re-socialization with other dogs. He will eventually need surgery on his eyes and potentially his tail amputated, but otherwise he is expected to make a full recovery. His emotional scars may take longer to heal: he suffers from night terrors where he cries and kicks in his sleep. Tina hopes his anxiety will lesson over time.
Tina remembers the first time she saw him at CACC: he was curled up in the back of a metal cage, broken and defeated. A few short weeks later, Wonder Boy is like a phoenix rising from the ashes and his true spirit emerges a little more each day. She says he loves everyone he meets and his resiliency, gentle nature, and forgiving heart are truly awe-inspiring.
Although Wonder Boy is not quite to the “happily-ever-after” part of his story, he is definitely on his way – halfway home.
What You Can Do To Help Abused and Abandoned Dogs
Wonder Boy was saved because someone not only cared, they acted. As animal lovers (and decent human beings), we have a responsibility to take action if we see an animal, child or neighbor being harmed. If you suspect an animal is being abused, contact your local law enforcement, humane organization, or animal control agency. Educate yourself on the animal cruelty laws in your state and community and if they aren’t strong enough, work to change them. Sometimes this takes persistence. It’s not a quick fix, but remain vigilant and stay the course.
In the meantime, please consider making a donation to help with Wonder Boy’s Care! Also, if there are any Iowa-based photographers who would like to donate their services, please let us know.
Special thanks to Katie Lindgren for photographing Wonder Boy. You can view more of her beautiful work here.
Wonder Boy 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 Pit Bulls 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. If you liked this post, you might also want to read Lessons In Forgiveness. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.