Hoarded Dog’s Adventures Lead to Loving Home

Rescued spaniel lives best life every day

white, fluffy dog smilesToday, Freddie lives the perfect dog life.

His mom, Carol Hardwick, takes him on several walks each day. He also enjoys down time soaking up sunshine by the window of his Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, home. While this may seem typical, this 2-year-old spaniel mix’s life wasn’t always so perfect.

It has, however, been an adventure.

Dogs saved from abuser’s home

Freddie isn’t from Wisconsin, originally. He used to live in a house in Sequatchie County, Tennessee, with more than 50 dogs, about a dozen cats and a goat. The dogs were kept in small cages, about 4 to a cage. There wasn’t much food to go around, so Freddie and his housemates starved.

His previous owner occasionally took some dogs to local veterinarians. The doctors realized something was wrong, so they called the police.

Authorities went to the home in December 2014. The Humane Educational Society (HES) from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was on hand to help get the dogs out of the house.

“It was the filthiest place I’ve ever seen. It didn’t look bad from the outside, but the inside was awful,” said HES volunteer Yvonne Ownby. She recalled seeing the goat eating the walls of the house.

“Many of the dogs had skin irritation and matted fur, but the worst thing was a lot of them were emaciated,” Yvonne said. The dogs were also scared and timid.

Emergency Relief grant extends lifeline to dogs, shelter

HES took Freddie and 52 of the dogs to its shelter. The rest went to other local animal welfare agencies.

The influx of more than 50 dogs stretched HES’s resources, so PetSmart Charities® helped with a $3,500 Emergency Relief grant. The funding was used to pay for food costs and spay/neuter surgery for each dog.

dog wears boots and jacket“We couldn’t have taken care of the pets without the Emergency Relief grant. Just to do the surgery and feeding would have taken resources we didn’t have,” said HES Alternate Placement Program Manager Chasity Garrett.

After the first couple of days, it was clear many of these dogs just needed a little TLC to feel like normal dogs. Freddie was no exception. “He was great with people and pretty cuddly,” Yvonne said. “He’s a spunky boy, but he also loves attention.”

Freddie’s quick transformation prepared him for the next adventure in his life: a ride on the PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ vehicle. He was one of 13 dogs to leave Tennessee to find a home.

The staff knew they would miss him, but they were excited for him, too. “Every time a Sequatchie dog would get on the Rescue Waggin’, it was a big party,” Chasity said.

Ride to freedom

The lifesaving vehicle took Freddie to the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS). Upon arrival, he received love from the shelter’s staff. The next day, they listed Freddie as available for adoption.

That same day, Carol stopped by WHS after her yoga class. She lost her beloved Labrador May about 3 years before, and she wasn’t sure she could adopt again. But her daughter Jane convinced her to meet some pups.

“I just missed our dog so much, and it was harder living on my own. I love the companionship and the feeling of walking into a home with a dog,” she said.

Carol had intended to meet another dog at WHS, but a little, white, fluffy dog caught her eye: Freddie.

“We spent 2 hours just sitting against opposite sides of the glass. When I moved, he moved,” Carol said. “The adoption counselor let me play with him, and he sat on my lap right away. I knew then he was mine.”

dog puts paws upFreddie’s first night in his new home went well, though he was still adjusting to his new environment. The second day marked another great adventure for Freddie.

Spunky dog goes for a wild run

It was a cold January evening in Whitefish Bay. Jane was visiting her mother’s house when she opened the door and Freddie slipped out.

Carol ran after him so quickly she didn’t even stop to put on shoes, and Jane immediately jumped in her car. Freddie ran for an entire mile before they lost him.

They spent the next few hours frantically searching, crying and shivering from the freezing temperature. They even enlisted the help of the local police to follow leads of Freddie sightings, but each time they came up empty handed.

It was 10:00 that evening when Carol received a tip that Freddie was about 2 blocks away. She found him shortly after. Freddie took one look at Carol and ran into her arms.

“We took him straight home,” Carol said. “My daughter and I were shaking, and Freddie was sitting there with a grin on his face like he was thinking ‘that was so fun!’”

Little did Freddie know, the best was yet to come.

Rescued dog embraces a perfect dog life

It’s been a few months since Freddie’s wild run, and Carol knows he will always run back to her. They’ve bonded while outside and relaxing around the house. Freddie also enjoys playing with Jane’s Lab named Mac. Carol said they’re best friends.

Freddie even knows a few tricks. “I say, ‘Who is my good little doggy?’ And he stands on his hind legs,” she said.

Carol said her heart breaks when she thinks of Freddie’s past, but she knows she saved his life. “I think the trend has changed now — more and more people feel if you don’t get a rescue dog, you’re letting a dog down. I think so many more people are proud to have a rescue,” she said.

She is proud of her rescue dog, and Freddie is certainly proud of his new life.

“You know how they say every day is the best day of a dog’s life? That’s exactly right for Freddie,” Carol said.

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