An adorable Pekingese mix named Trooper certainly lives up to his name.
The lovable dog is currently being treated at the Tri-County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton after he was found “cemented” to the side of the road.
Dianna Otero, the director of the hospital that is nursing Trooper back to health, describes to TODAY.com the “incredibly awful” condition Trooper was in when he arrived at the animal shelter.
Otero explains in a phone interview that on Jan. 20 a group of good Samaritans noticed Trooper lying on the street while driving past him. She said they worked to remove him from the ground and one of them brought Trooper to the clinic.
She says the shelter is unsure how long the dog had been abandoned there.
“Our clinic is always very busy, but as soon as he came in everything stopped,” says Otero, who has worked at the clinic since it opened more than three years ago. “We thought we were dealing with a corpse. We weren’t even sure if he was alive just because of the way he smelled. He wasn’t really moving.”
Once the team determined Trooper was breathing, they immediately started grooming him. They sedated Trooper and removed all his mats. Otero describes Trooper’s coat as being like “dreadlocks” and says the mats were so close to his skin that it was painful to cut them off.
Trooper’s fur was also covered in maggots, food, feces and urine.
They quickly bathed Trooper to not only eliminate the smell but also the pain from removing a layer of his fur. “It had to have been like fire,” she says. “There’s no way it didn’t feel terrible, like peeling a scab back.”
She adds, “It was just incredibly awful. As soon as we got him all cleaned up, there was actually a dog under there.”
His hair was not the only part of him that was neglected.
“His nails were so overgrown when we cut them there was pus coming out of them,” Otero tells TODAY.com. She says Trooper’s eyes were dry and covered with ulcers and that he also has a “horrible heart murmur.”
She explains that because “he was stuck like that for so long or sustained an injury to his spine he’s got some compressed discs in his back.” The team has been doing physical therapy with Trooper every day since he arrived to teach him how to walk again.
“He does get up every now and then on his own with his back feet, which is huge,” she shares.
After Trooper makes more improvements, the team plans to neuter him and fix his teeth. Otero shares that the day after the dog was brought in they noticed his mouth was bloody because he has multiple loose teeth.
A dog that was rescued from such a grim situation would be expected to be angry or aggressive, but the small dog has been friendly to all the staff, Otero says.
The team determined that the Pekingese mix is likely between the ages of 10 and 12. His older age means Trooper will have a long way to go before he fully recovers, but he is already making progress.
Otero says Trooper has been learning to use the bathroom outside because he was used to urinating on himself while lying on the street.
“This dog has such bad urine scald and infection on his skin. There is no way to even know how long this has been going on. So, every day I (come) in and I bring him outside,” she says.
Otero continues, “I’ll stand him up and he’ll sit down when he’s ready. Then we’ll try again and he gets tired. But I mean, he’s an older guy. He’s gone through a lot, but he’s getting better and better every day.”
Otero and the staff at Tri-County Animal Rescue are not sure when Trooper will be able to walk and move around on his own. For now, they are making sure he is as happy and comfortable as possible.
“He has a good quality of life,” she shares. “He eats all day long, like a little piglet…So, we’re doing our best to see what the outcome will be.”
Otero has not heard any updates about the previous owners who are responsible for Trooper’s multiple ailments, but she is confident that they will be found because the dog was discovered on a main road.
“Whoever did do it, there are cameras all over Boca,” she says. “They will be found. There is no way this dog crawled. No way. He could barely move when he was brought in.”
Although no one has revealed any additional information about what happened to Trooper, there are quite a few people invested in his story.
The Tri-County Animal Rescue has been posting updates about the sweet dog on social media and asking for support for his medical care. According to the shelter’s Facebook page, over $18,000 has been donated so far.