As soon as she saw the cardboard box, the shelter worker knew something was wrong. So it was with some apprehension that she got closer and opened it. But when she looked inside, her worries were confirmed, as the box’s unfolded flaps revealed a heap of filthy fur.
The shelter employee in question is Meghan Lynch, who has dedicated her life to caring for animals. For the past five years, Lynch has volunteered with a rescue group called the Associated Humane Society (AHS). It’s based in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
AHS’s history actually stretches back over a century – it was originally established in 1906. Since then, the non-profit has grown into New Jersey’s largest shelter organization, spread across three different shelters. Furthermore, AHS operates a sanctuary, founded in 1977, called Popcorn Park.
The park is reserved for animals that have experienced a hard life. Whether stricken through illness, injury, abuse or advanced age, wild and domestic animals have a place in Popcorn Park. It’s even officially classed as a zoo, so it can care for exotic animals.
The organization’s official website describes its mission statement. “It is… our mission to prevent cruelty to all animals, primarily in New Jersey, but also throughout the United States,” it asserts. In order to achieve this goal, AHS also runs its shelters – like the once Meghan Lynch works at – to find homes for companion animals.
On August 29, 2018, Lynch went into work at the shelter. But when she arrived, she immediately knew something was wrong. Someone had left a cardboard box by the road outside.
Lynch was immediately concerned – the container was a new addition to the property. She’d also worked with AHS long enough to know what an abandoned box usually meant, as marketing office coordinator, Kim Tambora, told The Dodo.
“Of course our instincts are always to open them, because usually nothing good on the property is in a cardboard box,” Tambora explained. A further concern for Lynch was the scorching heat. It was a particularly hot summer’s day, at times reaching as high as 105 degrees.
With this in mind, Lynch rushed over to open the box. And even though the volunteer was in the burning sun, what she saw made her blood run cold. A pile of filthy fur lay inside, which Lynch realized was actually a female dog.
“When I opened the box, I saw the dog,” she later told ABC News. “I thought she was deceased. I could even smell her from this height. And then I saw she was gasping for air.”
That wasn’t all the rescuer noticed, either – there was a scrap of paper lying underneath the dog. It read: “Hello – found this poor thing at a cleaning job! No idea what to do – thought maybe you would know. Found in Howell, thank you for your help.”
Though it sounded like a well-meaning – but ultimately neglectful – Samaritan had found the dog, Tambora isn’t convinced. “If you went into a house to do a cleaning and you saw that, you’d call the police,” Tambora told the Dodo. “But you wouldn’t come here with somebody else’s dog from their house.”
Regardless, the result was the same – the dog’s previous owner had kept the dog under terrible conditions. Lynch immediately took her into the shelter to cool down. Then, once the poor pooch had stabilized, AHS assessed her.
The dog, which rescuers named Halle, turned out to be an apricot poodle mixed breed. However, it was initially hard to tell, on account of her matted and dirty fur. And upon inspection, the vets found that they were uncomfortable anesthetizing Halle for grooming, owing to her advanced age.
As near as experts could tell, their new guest was a senior of approximately 10-years-old. “She’s an older dog, so we’re taking it slow,” AHS veterinarian Dr. Emily Woods reported to ABC News. “We don’t want to sedate her while we groom her.”
“So we’re just doing it bit by bit,” Woods continued. “And she’s been very patient for everything. She’s a very nice little dog.” According to AHS’s assessment, Halle had at least a year’s worth of overgrown fur to shave, so she’d obviously been neglected for a while.
That wasn’t the end of Halle’s health issues, though. She was also suffering from cataracts, leaving her without sight. And in addition, vets treated her for a urinary tract infection. But after some TLC, the sweet old dear both looked and felt so much better.
And now she’s proving that there’s life in her yet, surprising her carers with her adaptability. An AHS Facebook update on September 21, 2018, said, “[We] were nervous about her finding her way in here. But she [is doing] great!”
Speaking to The Dodo, Kim Tambora added, “She finds everything, she doesn’t really need help, she figures it out. But she’s definitely a little old lady. Her back legs are on the stiff side, so she doesn’t walk great.” But the good news is that Halle’s now ready to find a loving home.
“It breaks your heart that she’s probably better off dumped in a box on the side of the road than where she was before,” Tambora concluded. “But we’re glad to have her, and we’ll take care of her until her forever family comes for her.”
For Halle, it was her matted fur and bedraggled appearance that suggested she’d been abandoned. But it seems this dog tried to get a human’s attention another way. Yes, for nine days straight, Samantha cried out in a Memphis parking lot. And it was only when rescuers followed the agonizing noise that they became aware of her tragic situation.
In December 2015 a representative from Sunny Meadows animal shelter attended to a harrowing scene at Sam’s Club parking lot in Memphis, Tennessee. Moreover, when they arrived at the site, what they saw and heard was truly heartbreaking. There, in the middle of the lot, was a lone dog howling out for attention.
It seemed that the dog’s owners had heartlessly dumped the little white pooch, who was crying out for them to return. But sadly, they never did. And while Sunny Meadows staff tried for two whole days to retrieve the dog, she refused to go with them. It was as though she was still clinging on to the hope that she’d see her loved ones again.
With time ticking on, Sunny Meadows contacted Arrow Dog Rescue for help. This animal welfare organization specializes in the rescue and rehoming of stray dogs. Therefore, its expertise would surely come in handy at the parking lot.
That’s when Mary Murphy from Arrow Dog Rescue first arrived on the scene. The animal rescuer tried in vain to reach out to the poor pooch, but the dog seemed wary of strangers. And so Murphy had little option but to wait it out.
In fact, armed with a lawn chair and a novel, Murphy made herself at home in the parking lot. She even brought her own dog along for company. The plan was to let the stray gradually get used to her, before Murphy attempted to bring her to safety. And so for days Murphy simply sat and watched as the dog searched the car windows in a desperate bid to find her owner.
Finally, after more than three days, the dog appeared to warm to Murphy. And after a total of nine days, the animal lover was able to get a collar on the dog and bring her home. Jeff Guy, the owner of a nearby auto market, helped Murphy and named the fur baby Samantha.
Murphy’s colleagues at the rescue were quick to note that the dog was in great shape. “She seemed to be in really good condition,” Kimberley Slown from Arrow Dog Rescue told The Dodo. “It really looked someone just took off her collar and drove off.”
After arriving at the shelter, Samantha received a full check-up from a vet. Later, Arrow Dog Rescue shared the dog’s heartbreaking story on its Facebook page. And soon, adoption offers began flooding in for the adorable doggy.
Samantha also received a number of kind comments from well-wishers on social media. “Her howling is so heartbreaking! I just don’t understand how anyone can abandon and/or abuse their animals. My animals have always been family to me, not just an animal,” wrote one Facebook user in 2015.
Writing on the same post, another added, “The video was heartbreaking. Thanks to the hearts of gold of the Mary Murphys, volunteers, and rescuers that save babies like this that are abandoned by their family. That is animal abuse in my book.”
And with all the interest in her, it wasn’t long before Samantha found a foster home. “Sam went home this morning with her foster adopt home,” Slown revealed to the Huffington Post. “If all works out, she will be adopted by them in two weeks.”
In the meantime, Arrow Dog Rescue turned its attention to locating the person who had dumped Samantha in the first place. “So hoping that the former family of this dog has seen her, and the loneliness and sadness she shared for 9 days waiting for them to come back. The more times it is shared, the more likely someone who knows her former owner will come forward to tell us who they are,” the shelter pleaded on Facebook in 2015.
According to Slown, it is unlikely that Samantha’s owners accidentally left her behind. “This is an area where animals are dumped,” she told the Huffington Post. “Dogs often times will stay where they are dumped in the hopes that their family will be back for them,” she added.
However, while the search for her former owners was on, Samantha was busy settling in to her foster home. And an update from her foster family revealed that the canine had even made a fellow four-legged friend. In fact, she’d found a new buddy in the form of Ariya, the brown dachshund.
Luckily for both Samantha and Ariya, the foster period went well. After all, the family decided to adopt the former stray for good. And not only did the dog gain a loving mom named Lori Pastore, but she also bagged three furry siblings. They too had started out life as rescue dogs.
The month after her adoption, in January 2016, Arrow Dog Rescue posted an update on Samantha on its Facebook page. “[Her adoptive family] said it is like she has been with them forever, and she is their dog’s best friend! She has been named Aries, and we couldn’t be happier for her,” it wrote.
The family had undoubtedly changed Samantha’s life. And it seemed, in turn, that she had changed theirs. “My life will be forever changed because of Arrow Rescue and the two wonderful women Kim and Terri that run the rescue. These two women focus so much of their lives on saving dogs and giving them a chance at living,” Pastore gushed on Facebook in 2016.
“I thank them with all my heart for bringing Aries (Samantha) and Ace into my life,” Pastore continued. “They have given me unconditional love and been there for me when humans just weren’t. I pray that someday people will realize why dogs are here and give them the homes and lives they deserve.”
In December 2016 Samantha – now known as Aries – celebrated her one-year anniversary in her new home. Luckily for her, she has ended up with a family who completely adore her. And, most importantly, they’ll never leave her alone again.