The text message with Gru’s photo arrived late on a Saturday night. There was a dog in a rural shelter in the Central Valley in poor condition. He needed help. No one else would even consider taking him and the shelter didn’t have the resources to treat him.
The photos were heartbreaking. Upsetting images of his injuries. A missing ear. His bone-thin body. A mass on his underside. His condition was shocking.
We knew we had to help. The shelter made immediate plans for emergency transport to Muttopia, our safe space for rescued dogs.
Gru, named after a cartoon character who is gruff on the outside but a big marshmallow on the inside, arrived the very next day. He was in very poor shape, most likely having been a bait dog used in dog fighting.
Gru’s ear had been torn from his head. He was so thin he had pressure sores all over his coat from where his bones made contact with the ground when he laid down. He was covered in bite wounds and ticks. And he had a huge, infected, bleeding growth on his underside.
Yet, despite all of that, what made the biggest impression on us when we met him were his eyes. Those eyes. Soulful and pleading. Deep and expressive. To think of what those eyes had seen and endured broke our hearts.
Gru has undergone extensive veterinary care with us and has had the disposition of a true saint. Wound cleanings, a blood transfusion, emergency surgery to remove the mass – he has undergone it all with a wagging tail and nothing but love and affection for anyone he meets.
Underneath that rough exterior, so tattered and torn by the life he has had, is one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. Goofy. Loving. Trusting.
And as Gru heals his eyes have become even more beautiful. There’s a playful vibrance in them that is beginning to overshadow the longstanding sorrow and pain.
Gru still has a long road ahead of him. But everyday he is stronger. Everyday he is goofier. Everyday he is one more day further from the suffering he’s endured.
Every kindness we can offer Gru is a step towards making it right for a dog that has known so much wrong. It is simply unthinkable to imagine him never having had the chance to know compassion, a gentle touch, and a full belly.
Helen Keller once said “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
Our organization and the work we do is built upon that very notion and our dear, sweet boy Gru is a beautiful example of just that.
Thank you to everyone who has donated towards Gru’s medical care. Donations to our emergency rescue fund enable us to take animals like Gru and make it right for them. Please donate today so we can continue to be there for the animals in their hour of need.