‘She’s just so lovable’

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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Woman who adopted malnourished dog is glad she did

As the owner of two dogs, Lindsay had no intentions of owning another one.

One trip to the vet changed all that.

It was Sept. 16, 2012, and she was sitting in the waiting room at the Avalon Animal Hospital on Logy Bay Road with her two Yorkies, which were scheduled for routine checkups.

That’s when two women from the Humane Society walked in with a Rottweiler mixed-breed female dog. She was underweight, frail and despondent.

“I was sat across the room and I could literally count every single rib in her body,” said Lindsay, who didn’t want to give her real name to ensure her privacy.

“It was the worst thing I had ever seen in my life — absolutely heartbreaking.”

She said she knew she had to do something.

“She was absolutely awful looking. It was just horrible,” Lindsay said. “I have my own two dogs and I never planned to own another dog. But the way she looked up at me, I couldn’t resist.”

She walked up to the dog to pet her. A wag of the tail and welcoming response was all it took.

“Oh my gosh, she was so friendly,” she said. “I knew I had to help her.”

The dog, named Lady, had been seized from a home in Lakeview, near Harbour Main, where she had been chained to a tree, was flea-infested and malnourished.

The animal was discovered by a neighbour, Loretta Carns, who was so shocked and appalled by the dog’s condition, she called the Humane Society. Representatives of the SPCA and an RCMP officer also showed up.

The dog’s owner, Christopher Whelan, has been charged with animal cruelty. During his trial, which began last week in provincial court, Whelan testified that he did feed the dog, but she didn’t gain weight.

 

Whelan said he knew the animal was in bad shape, but couldn’t afford to bring her to the vet for treatment.

That explanation didn’t sit well with Lindsay.

“How someone could do that to a dog — just let it go like that — is beyond me.” she said. “I just don’t understand it. If the dog was sick, he should have asked someone for help to get treatment.”

Lindsay said she believes in helping animals in need. It’s the main reason she adopted Lady — to make sure the dog had the best chance possible for a good life.

“I was afraid no one else would adopt her,” she said. “I had the means to do it, so I felt I should.”

She wasn’t permitted to take the dog home right away, since she needed further treatment.

But she did offer to pay the vet bills to ensure she got all possible tests.

Lindsay visited Lady at the SPCA for 2 1/2 weeks, and brought her other two dogs. She even hired a dog behaviourist to work with Lady.

“We wanted to figure out her demeanour and how to best handle things when she came home, especially with the other two smaller dogs,” she said.

“(The behaviourist) tried to get her to become aggressive and snap at him, but she wouldn’t. All she wanted to do was play and be rubbed.

“(The behaviourist) even said to me ‘If you don’t take her, I will.’  She’s just so lovable.”

On Oct. 3, Lindsay finally got approval to bring the dog home.

“She settled right in,” she said. “All she wanted to do was sit on her lap. The only trouble I had was feeding her. She was jumping at it to get at the food, since she went so long (at her original home) with no food.

“But when she figured out that she gets fed regularly, she was better.”

Eight months later, Lady is a happy, healthy dog.

When she was first brought to the vet, she weighed 35 pounds. She now weighs 65 pounds.

She gets walked every day and goes to “doggie day care” three times a week.

“We only heard her bark for the first time in November,” she said, laughing. “Now, she barks all the time. I guess she feels comfortable enough now.

“She feels safe now. She knows she’s home. She’s so happy. She’s come full circle.”

Lindsay said she’s perfect around the two dogs and loves children.

Lindsay is thankful to Carns for reporting the dog and credits her for saving Lady’s life.

“She was definitely days away from dying,” Lindsay said of Lady.

She encourages other people to do the same and report any animal they suspect is mistreated.

“There’s no harm in false alarms,” she said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Lindsay is also grateful to the people at the Humane Society and the SPCA, who she said do “amazing work.”

She also hopes others will step forward and adopt animals, like Lady, from the SPCA.

“I know it’s scary for people to adopt a dog they know nothing about,” she said. “But I’m saying there are neglected animals out there who are great and would make wonderful pets,” she said.

“Lady is a perfect example. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog.”

 

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Humane Society, SPCA, Avalon Animal Hospital RCMP

Geographic location: Logy Bay Road, Lakeview, Harbour Main Carns

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Recent comments

  • Florence Tuck
    May 02, 2013 - 08:45

    It's so good to hear a happy ending story, I wish they all were so lucky. I"ve spent my life helping animals as well, and wanted to pass on thanks to the lady who reported the abuse, and to you LIndsey~ God Bless you! hugs for Lady!

  • Another Leah G.
    April 29, 2013 - 15:35

    THANK YOU.....ANGEL "LADY". GOD BLESS YOU.

  • Dog Lover
    April 29, 2013 - 12:44

    As soon as I heard about this dog, I started looking to see if she has been adopted, if not, I would have for sure. A big thank you to all the pet lovers out there. She is looking so beautiful and happy, makes me cry. This man should be taken and tied to a tree himself, with no food, or love, or attention. God, its a good thing I dont know this man personally.

  • leah
    April 29, 2013 - 09:55

    HSLAW That abt. sums it all up-sadley you are right.But we have to try, maybe the right person in court will finally step up to the plate and punish the the quilty.We as the public should have a protest and demand better of the court system.

  • leah
    April 29, 2013 - 09:49

    So happy for Lindsey and her new dog Lady,I had shivers reading this story.It is so nice to have a happy ending to a tragic story like this.There are far too many stories like this in NL alone with suffering animals-the courts need to get with the times and punish these people,the minute you do this to a animal yours rights should be taken away no ands or buts.Christerpher said the dog wouldnt gain weight--certaily not true when Lindsay achived the dogs weight at 65 lbs--so the dog was certainly tied to a tree and starved purposely.Come on courts get some backbone and punish these people. Lindsy is an angel and so happy for her family.I have 2 cats and my next pet will be to save an animal from a shelter indeed.Please people save a life.

  • hslaw
    April 29, 2013 - 09:42

    I will guess this person on trail will get a fine that won't be paid he will get a lecture and that will go unheeded As sad as this story is and as bad as the dog suffered this is all a joke All the expense of a trial and to get a fine that will not be paid.It would have been just as well to take the dog from the man and be done with .

  • So beautiful
    April 29, 2013 - 09:39

    This story brought tears to my eyes. Such a happy ever after for this dog and your family!! :)

  • Duffy
    April 29, 2013 - 09:19

    If I were to put my honest thoughts here, this would not be posted. I just hope "the leach that starved her gets his" in the end. Thank you to the beautiful woman that took her for her last few years.

  • Elaine
    April 29, 2013 - 08:56

    Lindsay, you are this dog's angel and she will be forever grateful to you. If only other people cared so much about an innocent animal. If the law doesn't set a precedent for those that neglect and abuse their animals, then unfortunately these idiots will continue to mistreat an animal. We have to be their voice as they cannot speak for themselves. Thanks so much for helping and saving Lady. It's good to know that there are those who truly have a big heart like you!

  • Cher
    April 29, 2013 - 08:29

    Thank you for taking care of Lady. You are a kind-hearted person. I hope a lifetime of good fortune and happiness comes to you. You deserve it!

  • Tiffany
    April 29, 2013 - 08:22

    This is a very heartwarming story and although very sad regarding Lady's early life, I am very happy to see her go to a loving home, which every single animal, no matter the size or type, deserves to have. Too bad the government don't step up and increase the punishments to fit a crime such as this!

  • Dani
    April 29, 2013 - 08:19

    Kudos to you Lindsay. It appears as if Lady now has a happy, safe, loving, forever home. She looks so happy in the pic. You've done an amazing job!

  • willie
    April 29, 2013 - 07:53

    great story i wish there were more of them.it goes to show that the way a dog is treated the nicer they are not CHAINED to a fence 50 ft from your house just to say you have a dog,that just don't cut it. All that a dog needs is love and affection as they give it as well.

  • That guy
    April 29, 2013 - 07:05

    Kudos to this lady. This particular breed have a stigma attached to them for many people which I believe to be unfair and undeserved. Good on her to offer her home to a creature in need. If you want to get a cat or dog, look into adoption people and for gods sake, get your pets fixed. If you can't afford to get them fixed and pay for emergency vet visits, don't get one!