For obvious reasons, dogs in shelters can often act unusually. Whether they’re confused about where they’ve ended up or simply craving some love and attention, it’s fair to say that the places aren’t exactly a natural environment for canines. However, one animal rescuer knew immediately that something was wrong when she spotted one poor pooch in the corner of her cold, bare kennel.
As the founder of animal rescue organization The Haley Graves Foundation, Tammy Graves has come across plenty of desperate dogs in her time. Indeed, Graves and her team rescue dogs from shelters and attempt to provide them with a secure future. As a result, then, she has spent lots of time around dogs who’ve been abused or abandoned.
However, nothing prepared Graves for the heartbreaking scene she witnessed in September 2016. That’s when, upon one of her regular visits to a shelter in North Carolina, something tragic caught her eye. And Graves was so moved by what she saw, in fact, that she decided to speak out on her Facebook page.
Alongside a lengthy message, Graves posted a poignant picture of a black dog sitting in the corner of a dank, bare room. The canine was so traumatized and withdrawn that it had pushed its face right up to the wall, as if trying to block out the tragic world around it. “This is what happens when people bring their dog to a shelter and leave them,” Graves warned.
“This guy [sic] yesterday morning woke up happy on a couch or in a warm bed, waiting to be fed, hopped in the car thinking he was going to the park or, if it was a bad day, he was going to the vet,” she said. “Instead he went to a place where there are 275 dogs barking to be freed, it smells like death, and doors are banging shut all the time.”
Graves added that the dog had ended up in the shelter through no fault of its own. She described the owners as “irresponsible” and hinted at the fact that other dogs in the shelter were being euthanized when no practical solution could be found for them.
“He lies frozen in fear, in a puddle of his own urine,” the emotional post continued. “Afraid to move, afraid to make eye contact, thinking just maybe he can fade away into this wall. Because if he does no one will see him and just maybe he can escape whatever fate waits for him.”
And the passionate post clearly struck a chord among Graves’ Facebook following. Indeed, it has subsequently been shared over 100,000 times and received more than 3,500 reactions. “I cannot, will not, ever ever ever understand people [who] just dump a dog!” one commenter wrote on the post. “My tears are pouring. This is the most horrific photo for any dog mummy to see.”
“I have to say that I felt like vomiting when I saw this,” another wrote. “At this moment I sit here with tears in my eyes. I look at my beautiful little pup. And I can’t even imagine why anyone would give him up.” Graves agreed that the dog’s state was upsetting, also admitting that she’d “cried all the way home” from the shelter.
Unable to stand back and simply do nothing, Graves returned to the pound to collect the dog. She named it June Cash and whisked her straight to a vet. Once there, however, it was discovered that June was in a bad way. Specifically, the dog was suffering from a heartworm condition and was also covered in fleas and parasites.
And that wasn’t the only cause for concern. June was also showing signs that she’d been abused, in fact. And though her owner claimed that she just couldn’t look after the dog any more, Graves had her suspicions. “[June’s] not had a very good life. Her collar was very tight and [the shelter] had to use industrial shears to cut it off,” Inside Edition quoted her as saying in September 2016.
What’s more, June was petrified of loud noises and also seemed to have some trouble eating. She would only finish her food if no one was looking and had refused to eat anything while at the shelter. Due to her traumatic past, then, June had a long road of recovery ahead of her.
Following her rescue, meanwhile, June was kept at the vet to recover. While there, she was given her own bed and a soft toy, of which she grew very fond. However, according to Graves, the dog would lie on the stuffed animal to hide it from sight because “she doesn’t want anyone to see that she likes it.”
Later, June was taken to a foster home where she would remain until she was fit for a suitable forever home. And, slowly but surely, the canine began to trust humans again. “She’s now laying her head in certain people’s laps, and she will lick your hand but she won’t let you watch what she eats. It’s going to take her a little bit of time,” Graves said, according to Inside Edition.
Indeed, although June still has much to learn, Graves is confident that the dog will make someone an excellent pet. And she stressed that such is the case for many rescue dogs. “There are fabulous dogs in shelters who just want a home. They didn’t do anything wrong,” she added.
Furthermore, once she is well enough, June will be able to go up for adoption. But, for the time being, June is enjoying getting settled into her new temporary home. “She is very spoiled there (as she deserves to be). She loves her new bed, her toys and treats,” read an update on the Haley Graves Foundation website in September 2016.
“Today is bath #2 day and we will be nail trimming and microchipping,” the post continued. “We are moving slow with her, June Cash has, as [far] we can tell, never been to a veterinarian so each procedure is new to her. Everything is a new introduction.”
Indeed, June will stay under the watchful eye of her foster dad for at least 12 weeks. After that, she will be free to go to her forever home. Thankfully, though, there’s already plenty of interest in June. “[We have received] hundreds of messages and Facebook posts about adopting her,” Graves said to Inside Edition.
Due to the level of interest in little June, moreover, Graves has allowed applicants to submit their adoption requests two months early. “This girl loves long walks on the farm with her foster dad. She is still working on her trust issues and will need someone that is very patient and willing to work with her,” read a post on the Haley Graves Foundation Facebook page.
With that in mind, it’s likely that June will be adopted very soon. And Graves is hopeful that June’s story might help other shelter dogs in the country. “We encourage those who are not able to see [June] in North Carolina to check with their local shelter. There is a June Cash in every shelter in America,” she revealed.