Old dog brings out the charm in Charm City
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.
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abused, agora publishing, animal welfare, animals, balitmore, boston street animal hospital, dog, dogfighting, donations, downtown, humanity, injuries, madison, matthew wagner, michelle ingrodi, neglected, parking lot, pets, rescue, rescued, save, saved, scars, stinky, stray, streets