During her regular trip to the park, Judy Obregon almost missed the unusual shape at the roadside. On closer inspection, it appeared to be a pet house stuffed with bedding. She moved nearer for a better look, and suddenly the house jiggled – something was living inside.
Judy Obregon is an animal rescuer who runs an organization called The Abandoned Ones (TAO). She founded the group after saving a wounded Mastiff-cross called Buddy back in 2010. Buddy was found in Echo Lake Park, Fort Worth, Texas.
As a result of her discovery, Obregon began to patrol the area regularly. And what she found shocked her. Obregon regularly came across animals abandoned like trash, so her visits became more frequent. Eventually, she was going to Echo Lake Park almost every day.
Obregon consequently formed TAO to try to deal with the problem. She explained the organization’s name to People Pets in June 2017. “Every animal I found here was abandoned,” she said of the park. “Whether found tied to the fence or in a trash bag, they were abandoned.”
Echo Lake Park has in fact gained notoriety as a dumping ground for unwanted pets and animal abuse victims. Over the years, Obregon estimates that she’s rescued at least 300 strays in the area. And she continues to visit the park as often as she can.
However, that almost didn’t happen one week in April 2017. Because Obregon was so over-worked due to her various responsibilities, she wasn’t feeling very well. Nonetheless, she couldn’t bear the thought of abandoned animals potentially waiting for her help.
With this in mind, Obregon decided to visit Echo Lake Park after all and headed out on patrol. Sure enough, during her trip through the area, she saw something. There was a strange shape on the roadside.
The odd sight piqued Obregon’s interest, so she stopped her car to investigate. A closer inspection of the object revealed it to be a small pet house. Although she couldn’t see anything inside, Obregon still approached to check… just in case.
And it’s lucky that she did; Obregon began filming events on her camera phone, which were later posted on Facebook. The footage shows what happened next. As she approaches the pet house, Obregon notices something and exclaims, “Oh my gosh!”
The little house shifts slightly, and Obregon sees the movement, too. “There’s something in here,” Obregon says on the recording as she bends down to look inside. It’s hard to tell what’s within, though, as the house is stuffed with a pillow.
Suddenly, a snout followed by a pair of big, shiny eyes peers out from the darkness behind the pillow. It appears that someone had left a dog by the road, bed and all. Obregon is flooded with emotion and greets the dog with, “Hi, baby!”
When Obregon tries to pull the pillow out of the house, she realizes it’s damp to the touch. “This pillow’s actually really wet, so I don’t know how long this baby has been here,” she says. When Obregon removes the cushion, though, she’s finally able to reach the dog.
After letting the little nose sniff her fingers, Obregon pulls another blanket out of the doghouse. She also seems to have earned the inhabitant’s trust. The dog tries to climb out with the cover, and its head emerges. It transpires that it’s just a puppy.
The puppy licks its rescuer’s hand and emerges from the depths of the pet house. And that’s when Obregon notices the little dog’s back. Chunks of the poor animal’s fur are missing, revealing raw and irritated skin underneath.
Obregon subsequently took the puppy to a veterinarian, who estimated the little girl to be around ten months old. They also diagnosed her skin condition as demodex mange, which had become infected. Her rescuer later wrote on Facebook that this was probably the cause of the pup’s abandonment.
Whatever the reason, Obregon said that the tiny dog would be loved from the moment of her rescue onwards. Her savior also gave the pup a new name. “She has the sweetest soul with her soulful eyes,” Obregon wrote. “So I wanted to find a name that meant something.”
“I’m calling her Najila,” Obregon continued. “Jila for short, meaning eyes that glisten.” The doctor prescribed Jila with antibiotics and medicinal baths to treat her mange. “After her medicated bath, she most definitely felt relieved,” Obregon reported on Facebook in April 2018.
Jila slept through most of her first night with Obregon, but she at least displayed a healthy appetite. And despite all the trauma that she went through, Najila is still the sweetest puppy. She’s enjoying her new life filled with love, as a TAO social media update revealed.
The footage shows Jila dashing around her cushion-covered room playing with a cooing Obregon. And the only time that the dog’s tail stops wagging is when she’s sitting on it! She’s clearly having the time of her life with all the belly rubs she could ever want.
On May 4, 2017, Obregon announced that Jila had found a foster home. She’ll stay with her new humans until she’s healthy enough to be adopted. Judging by how well she’s progressing, that won’t be long. Najla looks like a completely different dog, and she’s leaving her painful past right where it belongs – behind her.