A Dutch tourist was shocked to come across a dog lying motionless in the street. Her concern grew as she began to evaluate the situation and realized that the pitiful-looking hound had a broken back. But what had caused it? And what was the dog doing in the middle of the road? Keen to get to the bottom of the mystery, she followed the dog to an abandoned barn, where the full extent of the animal’s sad existence soon became apparent.
In summer 2016 Kiara Ijzendoorn was on holiday in Crete, Greece, with her sister Maxime and parents Nancy and Peter. On one life-changing day, the family were out driving when suddenly they spotted an animal lying on the road in front of their vehicle.
Slowing the car to a halt, the holiday-makers hoped that the dog would shift out of their way. They waited patiently for it to get to safety, away from the road. However, the animal simply stayed where it was. Kiara explained that the dog seemed unable to move and “looked like a heap.” But then, after taking a closer look, the family realized exactly why the pooch was motionless.
Kiara told The Dodo of their distressing discovery. “His leg was totally paralyzed,” she said. “He had a big bump on his back that was his broken spine.” Despite the animal’s heartbreaking injuries, Kiara managed to follow the dog back to where he was living.
It turned out the hapless dog had been hunkering down in an abandoned barn. And he appeared to have been there for some time. The sad reality of his broken condition and life of neglect would likely have moved anyone. And Kiara was no different. The holiday-maker couldn’t bear to leave him in this state. So, she made a few return visits to check up on the poor little dog.
And, with each trip, Kiara became increasingly attached to the dog, whom she described as “loving and sweet.” She decided to name him Fos, meaning “shining” in Greek, thus cementing their bond. Evidently, this attachment was a two-way agreement between dog and human. Each time the family visited the dog, he seemed happy to see his new friends.
Soon, however, the Ijzendoorn family would be faced with a dilemma. Their holiday couldn’t last forever; at some point, they would have to leave Greece and the pitiful pooch behind them. But Kiara’s connection with the dog was too strong to give up just yet. “We could not leave him,” she recalled.
Deciding that the dog deserved a shot at a happy life with a loving family, they took him to a local rescue center. Here, Kiara officially adopted the dog she had come to love so much. But he was still in bad shape and needed medical care just as much as he needed love and affection.
With this in mind, a vet was on hand to check on the poor pup and see to his horrific injuries. The specialist concluded that Fos had probably been abused, the hands of another human having likely caused his broken spine and prolonged pain.
Happily, though, his adoption would mark the end of the abuse and neglect. Only days later, Fos flew home with his new family to Rotterdam, Holland. In the Ijzendoorns’ house, Fos would finally know what a caring home felt like.
Thankfully, with better care than he had probably ever received, the dog slowly began to recover. Understandably, his spine took some time to heal but that, too, showed signs of improvement. “He walks better now and his bump isn’t as big,” Kiara said.
Perhaps offering a clue as to his past abusers, Kiara also noticed that Fos was “scared of older men and some cats.” However, it appears that the new family pet quickly found a four-legged friend of his own. Indeed, pictures of another dog litter the family members’ Facebook pages. One image in particular shows a snow-white pooch on a bridge, while in the background is another dog we can only assume is Fos.
Sadly though, Fos’ four-legged friendship wasn’t to last as the white dog in the picture has since passed away. The family marked the sad event with a picture of Kiara’s sister, Maxime, holding the dog’s paw. Accompanying it was an image of what looks like a small shrine to the family’s erstwhile pet, with a frame of dog pictures in the background and his collar in the foreground.
While such a loved pet could obviously not be replaced, another could, perhaps, fill the void in its owners’ hearts. Therefore, the rescue of Fos may have come at a perfect time and benefitted not only the dog but also his human rescuers.
Luckily for the Ijzendoorns, Fos is still doing great. “Unfortunately, he will always have a little hump on his back […] because of the abuse,” Maxime Ijzendoorn told Scribol. “But you won’t even notice it. Fos is a very happy dog, [he] wants lots of attention [and] plays a lot with my dad and loves the outdoor life.”
It has now been over a year since the family adopted the dog. To celebrate the anniversary, Maxime posted a message on Facebook. “It’s been a year since we found you,” she wrote. “It’s still bizarre when I think about the moment we saw you lying down.”
“I’m still surprised that people are capable of this [abuse],” she added. “But I’m glad to see you every day. Thanks for showing [me] that giving up was not an option and thanks Fos for [loving us] back.”
Friends of the Ijzendoorn family were also amazed by Fos’ miraculous recovery. And, of course, by the family’s compassion in rescuing him. Jannie Kwakkelaar voiced the opinion of many when she wrote, “I love that you guys are so good to him. He’s lucky to have you.” Claudia van Pernis agreed, writing, “What a difference […] after only a year! He couldn’t have wished for a better home.”
However, Fos isn’t the first dog to be rescued, adopted and brought home from Crete. In 2015 British tourist Georgia Bradley spent a fortune adopting a stray dog she named Pepper after its barks scared off two men that were attacking her.
Furthermore, Bradley even flew back to Crete just two weeks after leaving because the dog was on her mind so much. “When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about her,” she said, “so I took the soonest flight back out that I could.” Happily, after a hectic search, she and her furry pal were reunited and allowed to travel back to Bradley’s home in Cornwall, England. And that wasn’t the end of the tale: a week later, Pepper had a litter of six puppies.