Collin the dog should have been enjoying his old age in peace. But, as his health deteriorated, his owner decided he was no longer of value to him. So, he heartlessly dumped him on the street like a piece of garbage.
In February 2017, Grace Lofton Kaye, founder of Their Lives Matter, was browsing on social media. Their Lives Matter is an animal rescue organization that works across the state of Florida. As such, Kaye often sees animals at their lowest ebb.
However, on this day, Kaye came across one post on Facebook that simply broke her heart. The story in question was about an elderly dog named Collin. A stranger had found the graying black Labrador on a Miami street corner.
And, from the dog’s demeanor, the passerby could tell something was not right. The elderly animal was laying stationary on the grass. In fact, it seemed he had given up on life. So, the onlooker decided to approach the dog’s owner to find out what was going on.
“A Good Samaritan saw the owner put the dog out of the house and into the yard,” Kaye explained to The Dodo. “When the person asked the owner, the owner said the dog was ill and full of fleas and ticks. He just kicked the dog out of the house.”
Kaye knew she had to help the dog in any way she could. So, she contacted the Miami-based Pet House Animal Clinic, which agreed to help. And within hours rescuers had transported Collin to the facility where vets could give him the expert care he needed.
Vets found Collin was suffering from a severe tick infestation. He also had a number of open wounds on his body. Furthermore, medical staff discovered the poor pooch was blind, which must have made his ordeal even more terrifying.
So, in order to treat Collin’s many ailments, vets carried out a number of blood tests. They also gave him a medicated bath to help with his ticks. Incredibly, veterinary staff removed 1,000 ticks from his neglected body in the first few hours after his arrival. But, thankfully, he was now in the best possible hands.
“Collin has a warm blanket, a meal, antibiotics, and loving hands and voices for the first time in who knows how long,” read an update on the Their Lives Matter Facebook page in February 2017. “By the looks of his physical appearance it’s been a very very long time since this boy had any TLC.”
“Amazingly, Collin is heart worm negative,” the post continued. “He is stable and receiving fluids. He has eaten a little bit. We are hoping the bath he received is helping him to feel like the King he is. The medical team has said he is so sweet and has allowed all handling and interaction. We think he is winning hearts at the vets.”
Over the next few days, Collin gradually began to improve. He regained his appetite and his mood lifted. In fact, the gentle dog was even able to muster up enough energy to wag his tail. It was as though he was trying to say thank you to his dedicated vets.
However, Collin wasn’t out of the woods just yet. He would need acupuncture to treat his arthritis to help him walk more easily. Moreover, vets were concerned about some tumors on his body, so they took a biopsy just to be sure.
The extent of Collin’s problems broke Kaye’s heart. Even after all her years working with animals in need, she couldn’t believe the cruelty this dog had suffered. So, she took to Facebook to raise awareness of his plight.
“Collin’s open sores didn’t happen overnight,” she wrote. “His blindness didn’t happen overnight and his congestive heart failure didn’t happen overnight. His severe spinal arthritis did not happen overnight. And, neither did the thousands of ticks eating away at him day after day.”
“After sitting with him and just realizing that all he wants is a warm bed and a kind touch and some food, makes it all the more disgusting and inhumane that the very basic things that he needed were taken away from him when Collin needed it the most. When he needed protection. This is severe neglect,” Kaye added.
“We can’t undo what’s already been done,” she wrote. “What we can do is love him every single day from here forward and that time may not be especially long. We are happy for the fact that we were able to help. We are sad to see what we can’t fix.”
In the days following Kaye’s emotional post, Collin’s heath sadly did begin to deteriorate. It seemed his ordeal had become too much for the old boy, and his heart was giving up. All his veterinary team could do now was pray for him.
Then, on February 28, 2017, Collin passed away. The news devastated Kaye and the rest of the dog’s care team. However, the fact Collin spent his last days experiencing human love and compassion did give them some comfort.
The tragic news was met with an outpouring of love online. Many of Their Lives Matter’s supporters were deeply saddened to hear of Collin’s passing. However, they were grateful for the team’s efforts. “Thank you for all you did to make him feel loved on his last few days on earth,” one wrote.
And, although Kaye was shattered by Collin’s death, she didn’t want his passing to be in vain. “He is and was the face of severe neglect,” she wrote on Facebook. “It is what we try so hard to make up for and what we try to bring to light and what we try to provide healing for.”