I work at a private, no-kill, non-profit shelter. This is one story of one dog:
The Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2010, early morning, I arrived at the shelter and found one of our dogs barking at something in the woods that ring the property. I have come to recognize the difference of their barks. This dog was trying to tell me something. When I went to investigate, I could see a black animal of some kind, motionless in the thickets. When I got closer, I saw it was a dog. He was either sick or injured, or both. As I carefully approached him, he still did not move. When I got close enough to touch him, I still could not tell what was wrong. When I felt it was relatively safe to examine him, I could see no wounds or trauma at all, and determined he was simply dying of starvation. He was very, very thin, clearly dehydrated, both eyes were infected, he was covered with fleas and had mange. I also felt a lump of some kind under his chin, and his teeth were ground-down to nubs. I guessed he was a Black Lab/Mastiff mix. At the time he weighed about 60lbs., which is about half of what he should normally weigh.
I decided to take him home and see if I could nurse him back to health, then we would go see my Vet. He was too weak to walk on his own, so I had to carry him 1/4 mile back to the shelter, and over a barbed wire fence. As soon as I got him inside, I was able to get some fluids and sugar in his system.
For the first 6 days, he was eating 6 large cans of dog food a day, plus a bowl of kibble. He could walk after 24hrs, but still very unsteady on his feet. After 2 weeks he was walking better, but still a bit wobbly. I felt it was time to see the Vet.
After a full work-up, my Vet told me he had Hookworms and Large Roundworms, he was heartworm positive and had patches of infected skin due to fleas. The X-Rays showed the lump under his chin was a 22cal bullet that had scar tissue built up around it. The X-Rays also explained the reason he walked funny. His right leg showed a stress fracture that was never set, and had healed improperly. When she examined his teeth, she said his teeth had been “surgically reduced”. “Why would somebody do that”? I asked. She said this dog was most likely used as a “bait-dog” for a dog fighting operation. They had clipped his teeth down to nubs, so he could not bite back. The leg fracture was likely caused by dogfights as well. When he was no longer useful as a baitdog, they probably dumped him in woods and used him as taget practice, hence the bullet.
Today, he has a girlfriend (my Bullmastiff) and shares the guest bedroom with her in my house. All of his eye and skin infections are gone and he now weighs around 100lbs. He is able to run fairly normally and is completely housebroken. Looking the way he did when I found him, reminded me of the dirty homeless street urchin in the movie “Oliver”, begging for food. So I named him “Oliver” or “Ollie” for short.
I don’t know how many more years I will have him, but I cherish each and every day that he is here with me. I rescued him, as you rescued Sprite. It was meant to be like this. I will never forget Ollie. When he passes, I will rescue another. I will continue to rescue until it is time for me to pass.

— Daniel from Garland, TX