When rescuers found this dog, he was in a box in a deserted area. He had no home to go to and no owner to look after him; to protect him from the cold, he had what little warmth his crate could offer. Yet he could still boast of at least one thing: a guardian who was watching over him from close by.
In Dallas, Texas, there’s an area near Dowdy’s Ferry that is well known to animal rescuers. And while it’s only 15 minutes away from the downtown area, it couldn’t be more different. Indeed, it’s mostly just abandoned woodland. But other things get abandoned there, too.
That’s because in addition to the unwanted vehicles and furniture that are dumped there, the area has become a common spot in which to find abandoned dogs. As a result, volunteers of non-profit animal rescue group The Underdog Project often scout the area, among them one woman named Leslie Ysuhuaylas.
At the time the dog and his friend were discovered, Ysuhuaylas and her fellow Underdog Project volunteers had been feeding the stray canines in the area for several weeks. In addition, Ysuhuaylas had left some blanketed crates out for the homeless hounds. And it was inside one of these crates that she found the dog she would go on to name Benny.
Indeed, it was lucky that Ysuhuaylas found the two-year-old Sharpei mix – not least because the temperature had dropped to 20 degrees that day. Plus, Benny was so still and quiet in the box that the volunteer might have easily missed him.
Upon getting closer, though, Ysuhuaylas realized why the dog was so still: he just didn’t have the energy to move. In fact, he’d huddled into the crate for any paltry warmth the crate’s blankets could provide. And perhaps he would have stayed here through the freezing night if she hadn’t stumbled upon him.
“I realized he could barely move his body. All he did was raise his head a little. He had completely given up,” Ysuhuaylas told animal enthusiast news site The Dodo in January 2017. When she inched closer to Benny, though, she noticed something even more distressing.
It turned out that Benny had not only been abandoned but also wounded – and it looked like a bad injury. Specifically, he had what appeared to be a deep cut on his leg. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his head was swollen, and the exposure to the cold had affected him, too.
In light of his condition, then, Ysuhuaylas wanted to get Benny treatment as soon as possible. And since he was in no condition to resist, it was easy to get a leash around his neck. Sadly, though, the poor dog was in no state to move on his own, so the rescuer carried him to her car instead.
As Ysuhuaylas picked him up, however, something else caught her eye. And it would seem to her that Benny hadn’t been quite as alone as she thought. A chocolate-colored Labrador, estimated to be only about a year old, had been keeping an eye on him the whole time.
In fact, the lab, whom Ysuhuaylas named Betty, looked like she was acting as Benny’s guardian. “[She] watched everything from afar, not leaving the area, just staring at her friend,” Ysuhuaylas explained to The Dodo. Naturally, then, she would have to come back for Benny’s loyal companion.
But the lab would have to wait; Benny badly needed medical attention. So she rushed the freezing, wounded dog to an emergency animal clinic, where the vets identified the extent of the creature’s injury. Sadly, though, they would have bad news: the laceration in his leg was severe enough to cause a bone infection.
Meanwhile, volunteers for The Underdog Project returned for Benny’s friend; thankfully, Betty was still waiting where they had left her. And, without difficulty, they managed to rescue her, too. Still, the humans’ involvement wouldn’t end there; for one, they would need to reach out to help find the dogs loving homes.
So, the volunteers duly sent an SOS to Rescue Dogs Rock NYC (RDRNYC). The group is renowned for helping the most desperate cases and, fortunately, was happy to take both Benny and Betty under its wing. “We don’t leave dogs behind… ever,” the charity aptly says on its Facebook page.
Yet at least one of the dogs was in bad shape. “Benny is on an IV as he is completely dehydrated, weak and starved,” RDRNYC explained in a January 2017 Facebook post. “X-rays were taken of Benny’s leg and chest. His head is very swollen and the medical staff are continuing to run tests to figure out why.”
“Our hearts break… thinking about Benny day after day, night after night in the freezing cold, in pain, living in this box,” RDRNYC added on Facebook. And though vets surgically closed and cleaned Benny’s wound, he was still on medication for the pain and the swelling of his head.
Furthermore, RDRNYC was put in the position of having to appeal for financial assistance to help with Benny’s care. Just one night of emergency treatment, for example, cost nearly $2,300. And the poor pooch still faced a long road to recovery, so the costs were likely to be far greater in the long run.
Even despite his ordeal, though, the animal’s spirit couldn’t be quashed. “Benny is still friendly, loving [and] loves toys,” Ysuhuaylas explained to The Dodo. “[He] doesn’t mind being touched and cleaned up. He’s a regular dog.” As for Betty, RDRNYC described the young pooch as sweet and gentle.
“We plan to bring Benny and Betty up to New York as soon as they are able to travel so that they can be adopted,” RDRNYC co-founder Stacey Silverstein added to The Dodo. The RDRNYC Facebook also explained, “We vow to give Betty the life she was always meant to have, one where she will be a cherished and a beloved family member.”
Still, it’s all thanks to Leslie Ysuhuaylas that the dogs are quite literally out of the woods now. And after the hardships they have been through, Benny and Betty both deserve to have loving homes. Thankfully, at least, RDRNYC will do all it can to see that they get them.