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Old dog brings out the charm in Charm City


Stinky in the parking lot

From all appearances, the stray dog laying on his side in the parking lot was already acquainted with the cruel side of Baltimore: The scars on his face, a tattered ear, a pus-filled eye, the ribs visible through his fur were all signs of neglect, and possible use by dogfighters.

But before the day was over, he’d find Baltimore — despite the high profile stories of dogs set afire and tortured cats — has a sweet side, too.

An employee of Agora Publishing came across the dog Friday in a nearby parking lot on St. Paul Street.

Matthew Wagner took photos of the dog, posted them on Craigslist and his Facebook page, and put a call in to the city’s Animal Control office.

Meanwhile, Michelle Ingrodi, a receptionist at Boston Street Animal Hospital, logged on to Facebook before going to work. She’d been sent a link from a friend she hadn’t seen in 10 years, who happened to be a friend of Wagner’s. It was about the dog Wagner had found.

When Ingrodi arrived for work, one of her first calls of the day was — in true Smalltimore style — from Wagner.

“He said he’d found a dog on the side of the parking lot and didn’t know what to do,” Ingrodi said. “He said he’d called animal  control and they hadn’t shown up. I told him, ‘You don’t want to call animal control.’  This dog was old and sick and they might put him down immediately due to lack of space and lack of funds.”

Wagner asked how much it would cost if he were to bring the dog in to be checked, but Ingrodi told him there was no way of knowing. It depended on how extensive his problems were. She suggested that Wagner bring the dog in and — through his friends and Internet connections — ask anyone who was willing to donate to the dog’s care to contact the animal hospital.

Wagner made an appointment for 4 p.m., then went back outside, got the dog, and brought him into the offices of Agora Publishing. He got back on the computer, revised his posts, including the veterinary office’s phone number; then he began asking co-workers if they might be willing to contribute.


Stinky at the vet

At 4 p.m., when he walked into the vets office, Ingrodi told him what had happened, within just a few short hours: The animal hospital had received $1,325 in donations — some form Wagner’s co-workers, most from strangers who’d seen the account he’d posted and photos of the dog on Facebook and Craigslist.

The dog was malnourished, had a bad cut on his eye, and had several infected wounds. He was estimated to be 10 to 12 years old. X-rays showed nothing was broken. His cuts were treated, and the dog — initially dubbed Stinky Madison — was given a bath and, later, an assortment of food and supplies at Dogma. Wagner took the dog home and, after a $500-plus vet bill, still had $700-plus for future care and treatment.

“His co-workers started calling first, making $50 donations,” said Ingroti, who was answering the phones at the animal hospital. “Then people started sharing it on a Facebook, random people —  even someone from California. We had $325 within 25 minutes. Our phones have never rung like that. I had to turn down four or five donations.

“Here’s a dog who probably lay down in the gutter thinking ‘this is it.’  Then all these random people come together to save him — just complete strangers. I’m blown away, especially considering the way things are going in shelters now, with a lot of people giving up their pets. Something like this restores your faith in humanity.”

Wagner plans to care for the dog at least temporarily, she said.

Ingroti said the dog left the hospital looking tired but content. “He’s got some tired old bones, and he’s a little apprehensive.  You can see in his eyes that something has happened to him, and he’s  just not sure it’s a good idea to come near you. But he takes love if you give it.”

Baltimore, this time, gave it.


Comment from Michelle Ingrodi
Time October 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

John, I read it once and cried. I read it again and cried harder. Thanks for telling his story! Hopefully, we can update in a few months with a Happy Tail of adoption.

Comment from Cheryl Kearchner
Time October 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I hope Stinky gets a loving home, he sure deserves it. He was probably found just in the nick of time. Good job to the donors, Matthew and my daughter, Michelle, for a great job saving this beautiful dog. Matthew, give him hugs from us all.

Comment from jen
Time October 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Fabulous story, John! It shows what the real people of Baltimore are like. It took so many people, posts, and positive thinking to help this poor fella. To see the chain of events from the Craigs List post to the call to Boston St. Animal Shelter, and of course the kindness and compassion shown by Matt and Michelle and Dogma and the many others behind the scenes was wonderful and heart wrenching. I feel so honored to have met and friended some of the coolest, kindest people in Baltimore.

Tell Ace to pucker up…

Comment from Darlene Harris
Time October 24, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Yesterday, this dog… Today, I was the 63rd person to get a pawprint tattoo to benefit the Humane Society. Thank you to everyone for helping animals that cannot ask for help themselves. I am proud to say I am from Baltimore.

Comment from Michelle
Time October 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

Wonderful story! Wish there was more people in the world like this.

Comment from Cara
Time October 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Thank you for recapping such a wonderful and heart warming story. I am an Agora employee and helping animals in need has become a regular thing for my amazing coworkers. I am proud to be part of a company that recognizes that dogs rule! I am truly touched by all the support and love that surrounded Matt and his heroic efforts to save this poor dog. Kudos!

Comment from Melanie Bradshaw
Time October 26, 2009 at 12:21 am

Thank you everyone involved. Thank you Baltimore. I’ll take him if his new home is temporary. I love him already. those eyes. This gives me hope in people.

Comment from Michelle Ingrodi
Time October 26, 2009 at 10:19 am

Just an FYI, the woman who called from California has offered to adopt Stinky! She said that she would drive all the way to Baltimore to pick him up!!

Comment from Sherry Berkey
Time October 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Thank you everyone for coming thruogh for this animal. I have been worried about him since I saw the picture on Craigslist. I have 3 dogs myself and I cannot imagine the pain and horror this dog has went through.

Comment from Val
Time October 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm

What a heartwarming story! Glad to see there are caring people out there.

Comment from Kasey
Time October 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

I was looking on Craigslist at the Pets Section. I came across this ad and immediately called the man who posted it. His name was Matt and he was the kindest, most sincere person and he really wanted to help this dog. I spoke with him and he told me that the dog was taken to the hospital. He gave me the number and I made a donation. I am so GLAD the dog is ok and wanted to personally thank Matt for being such a compassionate person and taking the dog to safety. From the looks of it he probably would not have made it much longer. This story made me cry and I am so glad that there was a HAPPY ENDING to this story. From one dog lover to another THANK YOU!! =)

Comment from Donna
Time October 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm

As I was looking for my lost dog, I came across the original pic and need for help. I have been crying while placing my post. Then I found the update–you’ve given me hope-as I can only pray that someone would do this for my dog if they found him—God Bless everyone who helped “stinky madison” and for restoring my faith in the thought that there are still “good people” out there!

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Time November 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

[…] some heartwarming local doggy news to be had right here. This story made me tear up a little. It’s the kind of thing that restores your faith in […]