When Florida law officers arrived to collect an abandoned dog off a highway that cuts through the Everglades, they could hardly tell if the creature was even breathing. As they got closer, though, the officers discovered the terrified animal was alive – just.
The white dog had been wandering in the Everglades for an unknown amount of time when, in March 2016, a couple spotted him near the boat ramps just off of U.S. Highway 27. Knowing the dog wouldn’t last long if left alone in the crocodile-filled marsh, the pair sought expert help.
Eventually, the couple got in touch with the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, and its deputies came to the rescue. But when finally the officers saw the dog, they didn’t know if they had found him in time.
Indeed, the poor creature looked completely lifeless as he laid there curled up tightly in a ball, likely suffering from shock and exhaustion. Still, the officers took their time approaching the dog and assessing the situation; they wanted to slowly gain the animal’s trust.
Their tactic worked, and soon the animal was lifting his head and observing the humans who had awoken him with their flashlights. And, although still clearly out of sorts, the dog allowed the officers to get close enough to give him some food.
That’s when they noticed the true extent of the animal’s injuries. Not only was the dog suffering from a severe case of mange, but he was also bleeding from the face.
In fact, a veterinarian would later identify the dog as having a staph infection on his skin, an ear infection and serious problems with both eyes. Unsurprisingly, then, the dog would need surgery.
In a heartwarming video of the rescue, one person on the scene can be heard talking to the wary dog as officers try to encourage him to walk to the car. “Your life is going to be so much better now. Come on. You can make it,” the person said.
With encouragement and some heavy lifting to help the dog walk, then, the officers managed to load the young dog into their vehicle. The next morning, he was picked up by Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue in Delray Beach and given the name Powder.
The shelter is a haven for homeless cats and dogs in Florida’s Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Established by interior designer Sandra Dezelan, who quit her job in order to focus on rescuing animals, it arranges for the treatment and care of strays before putting them up for adoption.
So, to give their new guest the best care possible, the team at the shelter sent Powder to an animal eye surgeon for evaluation. That’s when they discovered that the poor dog’s sight was so bad that he could only see shadows. He would therefore need surgery on both eyes once his mange and other infections were treated, and the team got him started on the meds he would need.
There was no doubt Powder had a long road to recovery ahead of him. For instance, he had, sickeningly, around 500 puss-filled nodules covering his body.
Of course, the medical treatment that Powder needed was expensive, so the rescue center campaigned for donations. Indeed, Powder became an icon of hope on its Facebook page. And, after a few weeks, he was well enough to go in for his much-needed eye surgery.
Thanks to Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue loving care, then, Powder transformed into a completely different dog than the one found suffering in the Everglades. His skin cleared up, his fur grew back and, thanks to his surgery, he was able to see clearly.
Under the care of the shelter, Powder also gained 15 pounds. He finally looked like a healthy American Bulldog. He further enjoyed socializing with other dogs at Dezzy’s and started growing in confidence.
But Powder still had some obstacles to overcome. For example, before he could be found a loving forever home, the dog had to learn to trust more humans than just owner Sandra Dezelan.
“He NEEDS human socialization and once ready he will be out to adoption,” Dezelan wrote on the animal rescue’s Facebook page. She therefore had a trainer start working with Powder to help further build up the dog’s confidence.
And it worked: Powder officially went up for adoption in July 2016. In the announcement on Facebook, Dezelan described him as “the star” of the rescue center.
She also detailed the dog’s incredible recovery from the brink of death. “Powder was physically a MESS,” she wrote. “But, with surgeries, today’s modern medicines, around the clock care and love you can see the end result.”
The lovable canine has so far received many well wishes on the center’s Facebook page, with many fans eager for him to find his forever home. And having captured the hearts of so many people with his incredible story, it’s unlikely Powder will be waiting long to meet his new family.