When the altruistic animal lover found him in 2015, this poor puppy was cowering in terror alone inside an anonymous kill-shelter cage somewhere in the States. Quaking in fear all along his quivering body and wide-eyed with anxiety, it was clear to see that the abandoned baby was so scared that he was rooted to the spot. However, with a little patience, one kind stranger was able to get the little guy out of his corner and make him the center of loving attention.
Encountering a petrified pooch, totally overwhelmed by an alien institutional environment, was a pretty common experience for the people behind A Place To Bark. The charitable organization in question is a dog rescue venture which is able to operate all over the U.S. The not-for-profit was founded by Tennessee-based artist, author and animal advocate Bernie Berlin in 2001. Ever since, A Place To Bark has been responsible for rescuing countless canines from a euthanasia end in the country’s kill shelters.
As part of its rescue model, A Place To Bark locates and then liberates high-risk dogs from these kill shelters and places them into foster homes. Once the extricated animals have been rehabilitated, they are then taken to various humane societies across the States, where the canines are offered up for adoption.
In fact, a passage on Berlin’s A Place To Bark website sums up the organization’s approach succinctly. The text reads, “We are a new shelter concept, tackling an old problem. A Place To Bark is a temporary home, a foster facility that provides quarantine, full vet care, rehab and training to help adoptable animals further in the adoption process.” And the service is not strictly for dogs only; cats are welcome too.
In order to help process as many stricken pooches as possible, A Place To Bark works alongside various other animal-welfare agencies to identify dogs in need. Once the non-profit has taken an affected canine in, the benevolent body then covers all of the poor critter’s medical costs until the pupper is better.
In addition, A Place To Bark also spays and neuters all the abandoned animals who come under its care. This initiative is intended to prevent more dogs and cats from potentially ending up in kill shelters in the future. But, as far as the charity is concerned, this is only a step on the road towards a larger goal. “Our dedication is to [create] a program that could be the next step towards a no-kill nation,” the non-profit’s website explains.
However, not only is its quest toward a cruelty-free future for canines an expensive one, but saving dogs can also take a heavy emotional toll. Indeed, the people involved with A Place To Bark are continually presented with pooches who are severely traumatized by their terrible ordeals.
And the organization came across one such animal in 2015 in an unidentified kill shelter somewhere in the U.S. The dog in question had been given up by its owners and then dumped at the scary institution. It was there that staff from A Place To Bark first saw the animal, and reportedly the sight broke their hearts.
But in order for the wider public to see what the charity’s agents are frequently faced with, the entire episode was captured on video. As the footage begins, we see the pitiful little pup cowering in the corner of his pen as a cacophony of terrified canine barks rings out. However, the sorry situation was about to get even more heart wrenching.
Indeed, in the short clip captured by A Place To Bark and posted to its Facebook page, the dog seems to get even more freaked out by what happens next. The not-for-profit’s fieldworker opens the door to the canine’s cage. We see the poor pupper then push himself even closer to the rear wall and observe his little legs begin to tremble.
At this point, we witness the woman attempting to rescue the distressed dog try to reassure the little feller. “Come on! Let’s get you out of here,” she says encouragingly. Unfortunately, however, her voice is barely audible above the relentless barking of the other inmates echoing off the institutionally tiled walls of the shelter.
Consequently, the rescuer’s kind and soothing words seemingly do very little to ease the abject animal’s worries. Indeed, we see the ears on his head flattened with fear. The sorrowful little soul continues to quiver uncontrollably in the corner of his cage, and when the woman reaches out a friendly hand, he simply backs away.
Luckily for him, however, the doggy rescuer has no plans of giving up on the pup, no matter how reluctant he appears to taste freedom. “Come on. Today’s your lucky day, we’re getting out of here,” she exhorts, while trying to coax the canine to come towards her.
Happily, the woman’s perseverance eventually pays off. We see the dog gradually pull himself up on to his front paws and timidly drag himself towards her open and welcoming arms. Slowly but surely, the pupper edges closer to his rescuer before eventually laying down before her and inviting his would-be savior to pet him.
Although there was no way of knowing exactly what had happened to the dog in its past, it was evident in the film that the little guy was showing symptoms of extreme trauma. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Pia Silvani is the director of the organization’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. According to the ASPCA woman, these symptoms include, “Shaking, hiding, urination and/or defecation when the trigger attempts to interact, howling, pacing, excessive vocalization, and panting.”
Thankfully, however, this particular pupper was now in the safe hands of A Place To Bark. And, in the middle of 2015, one of its representatives posted its heart-rending rescue footage on Facebook. An accompanying caption said that the dog was a “sweet boy.” It added, “Extremely fearful, but honestly you can’t blame him. From a home to animal control.”
But the video update commentary continued with a few words of caution. “I really wish people would think things through when getting a pet,” it read. “Pets are for life… not just something to play with for a while. This is one of the lucky ones, leaving animal control with me.”
Understandably, the post hit something of a nerve with dog-devoted social media users. Since the rescue footage appeared online in 2015, it has received more than five million views and some 107,000 reactions on Facebook. Furthermore, the viral video has also attracted in excess of 16,000 comments from well-wishers.
One Facebook follower wrote, “This image of him is haunting. No animal should fear us humans like this. Thank you for rescuing him and showing him not all people are evil.” Meanwhile, another viewer said, “My foster dog acted just like this. No way could I leave him behind. So grateful for your rescue. We need so many more.”
Thankfully, the pooch rescued from the kill shelter reportedly did not stay fearful for long. Apparently the little guy soon found his confidence along with his forever home. Writing on Facebook, A Place To Bark operative announced, “This dog was adopted many months ago and is no longer afraid of anything.” So, it seems, the pupper finally received the happy ending he deserved after his great escape from death row.