On August 5th, TAF was contacted about an emaciated, 4 lb., horribly neglected male pup. His name was Barkley and he was suffering from massive hair loss due to the weight of severely matted fur being torn from his body along with urine burns up and down his legs.

We were able to give Barkley an emergency grooming but had to stop once we saw what was beneath his matted fur…while working on is face, two of his toenails were found growing out of his ear. We could only surmise that Barkley must have tried to scratch through some of his matted fur and became stuck…his two toenails must have just ripped out from the constant pressure. This was, by far, one of the most disturbing things that I have ever seen and really put in perspective the abuse that this pup had endured.

In addition to this, Barkley’s gums were pale and his legs began to come out from underneath him. He was just too tired to go on. It was then that Barkley was hospitalized until his medical condition stabilized.

Two days passed before Barkley was able to go back to the groomers and it was at that time that the true gravity of Barkley’s condition became horrifically apparent. Barkley, by far, was the most emaciated little dog that I have ever seen in my 20 (+) years of rescue… even thinner than Elsa. The pictures in my album don’t begin to show the extent of the abuse and torture that this poor pup has endured.

Barkley’s toes were so tightly fused together by mats and dried puss that it was near impossible to separate them without physically using your hands to forcefully pull them apart. It was like there was a rubber band around them cutting off the circulation. In fact, there were more toenails that had fallen off and were entombed in the urine stained matted fur.

Once the matted fur was finally shaved from Barkley’s legs, the carnage underneath was so bad that it literally took our breathe away… before us stood a tiny little skeleton that had oozing sores up and down his legs and black masses of dead tissue. His urine burns were so severe that they resembled cigarette burns. I honestly do not know how this 4-pound dog had survived that long. You could see every side of his each vertebra and his hipbones, pelvis, ribs and prosternum all prominently protruded from his body. It was so disturbing that I have a hard time putting it into words.

It was at this point that Barkley was taken right back to his doctor and started on pain medication and antibiotics.

Well, after weeks in foster care and some very special attention from TAF’s therapy dogs, Barkley has gone from 4.2lbs. to 11(+)lbs.! 

Better yet, I am proud to say that Barkley has found his forever home! Barkley now has the most adorable little brother and a mom that adores him! We went to visit Barkley this weekend and he couldn’t have been any happier to see us… it was the best gift that anybody involved in animal rescue could have received. The pup that had once emotionally brought me to my knees was thriving, hearty and beaming with joy… such a miracle… such a gift. 

Barkley’s will to live allowed him to beat all odds and reminded many of us that being strong has nothing to do with your size but your heart.