When the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) got a call about a hoarding case in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, it couldn’t predict the horrors that awaited. Sixty dogs were living in an overcrowded, junk-filled yard, many with untreated and infected injuries. Zoey was one of those unlucky ones, suffering a leg injury that was infected to the bone. It was clear she was in pain, and she was very nervous around people. She and the rest of the dogs were shuttled away to a shelter for treatment.
Ashley Mauceri, HSUS cruelty response manager, felt a special connection with Zoey, the small red dog with perky ears. Even through Zoey’s pain, Mauceri could see that she was very sweet and had a lot of personality.
When Mauceri and the HSUH team had arrived on scene, it didn’t take long to see that Zoey’s leg was hurt, possibly from an old injury. It was hard to imagine someone seeing her every day, watching her limp around in pain, and not take action. Zoey didn’t know it, but her life was about to take a dramatic turn for the better!
Back at the shelter, a team of veterinarians examined Zoey’s leg and took X-rays. The report was grim: two fractures in the leg, one of which was so old that it had fused over itself. When the leg had to be amputated, Mauceri worried how it might affect Zoey, both physically and emotionally. She need not have worried, however, as from the moment that leg was removed, the HSUS team saw the shy little begin to blossom. Without the broken leg or pain, Zoey began to fully come out of her shell, revealing a fun personality. Without her leg as a hindrance, she began to run around and play.
“She’s one of the fastest dogs I’ve ever seen,” said Mauceri.
Two of Mauceri’s best friends adopted Zoey, which was really exciting for her and the rest of the team because they could stay in close contact with the couple. “She has a huge backyard, everything she could want, she’s totally spoiled,” said Mauceri. “Zoey is a unique situation for the HSUS team because so often they rescue the dogs, give them medical care, then they are adopted through the shelter, and that’s sort of the end of the story. It’s rare we get to see the happily ever after.” Being able to see Zoey happy in her new home has been uplifting, and it reminds both the HSUS and the public why they fight for animals.
The team was also recently able to see another cruelty case, Corey, be blessed with a happily-ever-after. According to Mauceri, Corey was found living with more than 100 other dogs in a puppy mill, along with a myriad of other animals, including horses and birds. Corey had spent most of his life in a cage, living in his own filth. To add to his plight, Corey was blind, a condition the HSUS team believed to be caused by a combination of his living conditions and lack of proper medical care.
When the team rescued Corey, it was hard to imagine everything he and the rest of the animals had been through. Sadly, many of the people buying Corey’s Dachshund offspring probably had no idea about the conditions the parents lived in. They just saw a cute puppy in a pet store window or maybe online or on a flyer. They might have even thought they were getting a puppy from a good breeder, but what they were really doing was enabling someone to keep dogs like Corey in squalid conditions while they are used to produce litter after litter for profit.
Corey was adopted by a wonderful woman named Dori. He could not have been luckier! Dori works at a vet’s office, so he gets to spend a lot of time with her. This is a HUGE shift from his lonely puppy mill days, locked away in a dirty cage. In the HSUS video above, Dori describes Corey as “not afraid of anything, and he’s always happy.” His blindness doesn’t seem to hinder him at all as he navigates his new home and plays with his toys.
Corey’s enjoying being spoiled by his new family, but he’s also giving back. Dori has a friend whose son, Callum, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at six months of age. Spending time with Corey clearly brightens his day! Callum’s young wisdom shines through in the HSUS video when he says, “If you take a dog from a bad place, you could change his life, in a really good way. They can also change people’s lives, too.”
Dogs like Corey and Zoey prove that, regardless of their circumstances, dogs can love again and live life to the fullest. We often think of ourselves as saving them, but what they’re really doing is saving us — saving us from our apathy, our hurts, and our frustrations with our fellow human beings. So here’s to Corey, Zoey, their rescuers, and their new families, and to all the lives that they will continue to save!
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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.