By Erin Murphy

Early last year, Seattle Animal Shelter received a phone call from a concerned neighbor regarding a dog that was left outside. Their exact description was that he was “skin and bones.” SAS Humane Law Enforcement Officer Matt Belue went to investigate. What he found was a floppy-eared bull terrier who was so weak the poor guy’s legs were shaking. The dog had food available, but according to his former owners he hadn’t been eating since he had gotten into the neighbor’s trash.

Officer Belue took the emaciated pup, named Diesel, directly to the vet where the dog threw up cigarette butts, fabric material, and other non-food items. While he didn’t have any parasites, he showed signs consistent with starvation. After measuring the dog’s weight at 39 lbs., the veterinarian rated Diesel a 1 out of 9 on the body scale — where 5 is the ideal body weight.

His owners were unable to afford veterinary costs, so SAS kept the dog. At the Shelter, with the help of donations, he was able to receive all of the care he needed.

While he was at SAS recovering and trying to put on some weight, Diesel caught the eye of a volunteer named Cynthia. A foster cat parent, Cynthia was pretty sure she knew the perfect parents for Diesel. She contacted a couple of friends, Hollyce and Guy, who had been looking for a bull terrier. Hollyce had owned a bull terrier as a child and loved the breed’s quirky, stubborn, and family-oriented nature. Hollyce went to meet Diesel during his subsequent vet appointment at Lien Animal Clinic, and immediately fell in love. Now weighing 41 lbs. after only a short time at the shelter, Diesel was off to his new home.

The first few weeks were hard — Hollyce and Guy fed him nine cups of food per day and kept a log of his bathroom breaks — but thankfully, things got better very quickly. The little guy, whom the couple had renamed Nigel, was up to 50 lbs. within one month.

Nigel settled in easily, especially since Guy works from home and is able to keep him company. Within two months Nigel was up to a healthy weight of 60 lbs. He’s also gained a ton of confidence and loves going to dog parks, playing chase, and going on walks. While out and about with his family he receives countless compliments on how handsome he is.

Thanks to donors, staff, volunteers, and of course his wonderful family, Nigel has come quite a ways from the chained up, starving dog with shaky legs that he once was.

Nigel’s story is just one of many that demonstrate the impact of the Seattle Animal Shelter. You can help us deepen that impact. Donate to SASF today.