Dog ThisClose to Death Now Enjoying the Good Life

In one year, a young German shepherd mix has gone from being emaciated and worm-infested and having horribly infected ears, a broken hip, a huge gash on his head, and a fear of the world, to living the good life with a loving family, doggie (and kitty) friends, and a pool to swim in when the weather gets hot.

Toby before his capture

When Toby, a young German shepherd mix, was first spotted a year ago, he was wandering the rural area of Redland, Florida, with a friend, an American bulldog. Both dogs had been abandoned there and were struggling to survive in the harsh environment. It was apparent that Toby had been someone’s dog because although he was not wearing a collar, at one point a too-tight collar had become embedded on his neck, leaving tell-tale scars to tell the story.

Rescuers were able to catch Toby’s friend, but Toby was too spooked to come, even with offers of bacon. Jessie Pena, one of the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project founders said:

We found 2 dogs last year on Thanksgiving Day. It was about 9:00 pm when we spotted them…We were able to rescue the American bulldog with the help of the fire rescue. Toby was very scared and confused. I spent more than an hour trying to gain his trust and no luck.”
Finally, three months later, the group was able to catch Toby. In the meantime, life had not been good to him. He was alive thanks to the daily feeding efforts of the group, but he had been hit by a car and had other injuries. Ironically, the fact that he had been hit by a car may have saved his life — he was able to be snared by the group because he couldn’t run as fast.

 Toby was desperately in need of medical attention. The rescue group that took him, Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Orlando, immediately took him to the veterinarian. Toby’s ears were so impacted and infected that he needed sedation for them to be cleaned. His hip was broken, and

Toby recovering from surgery
Toby recovering from surgery

he would need FHO (femoral head osteotomy) surgery to repair the damage. Toby also had a huge gash on his head, he was very underweight, and he also had hookworms and was heartworm positive.

It is said that “it takes a village…” and in Toby’s rescue, a village was, indeed, there for him. Commenting on Carbone’s Facebook post about how thankful she is to have Toby in her family were many who had helped in his rescue, including Maritza Pita who was there for his capture and fostered him and Georgia Karagianni who helped transport him to Orlando.
The woman who finally caught him posted on the Facebook thread:
Jessie Pena Toby broke my heart the day we found him. Gave him a whole bag of bacon trying to get him to come close to me, but he wasn’t trusting humans at that time. We found him on thanksgiving day around 9p. We rescued his buddy and Toby left because he was scared….too afraid of people.
 Poodle and Pooch Rescue asked Kristen Carbone to foster Toby. She had just unexpectedly lost her shepherd mix and was not ready for another dog. But Toby needed a foster, and she had room in her home, so she agreed. Toby was immediately taken under the wing of Champion, the former bait dog Kristen fostered who was a “foster failure” and was adopted by the family.

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 Kristen told ShelterMe that when Toby first arrived, he was very sweet and very cuddly. He didn’t want his head touched, but he had the big gash there. He needed lots of attention when he first arrived, but now he’s changed. “He was very needy, but super sweet. Now he’s not as snuggly, and he’s very protective. He’s still sweet, but he knows his job. He’s the master of the other dogs; he’s come out of his shell. It’s as if he knows that he’s safe.”

 There is something special about Toby. “Toby sleeps in our bed,” Kristen shared. “He definitely lives the good life, that’s for sure! I’m just happy that he’s ours now!”

Living the good life...forever after
Living the good life…forever after

 For more information about the Redland area of Florida and those who help the abandoned animals, read “Hungry Homeless Dogs Get Fed Even on Thanksgiving,” “Volunteers Feed and Save Abandoned Scared Dogs,” and “Part II: The Solution.”

Pamela Kramer

​Animal lover and rescuer. Lives with 4 cats, 4 dogs, 1 bird, 2 frogs and usually one foster animal (and very understanding husband). Reviews books (especially about animals) and educates children about compassion toward animals. Former household animals include rabbits, rats, and other assorted creatures. Also writes at


  1. Jen Bryant says:

    Wonderful, wonderful story about caring, generous humans and a resilient pup! Happy for everyone involved.

  2. Cris Reed says:

    The Carbones are wonderful people! Toby hit the jackpot! <3

  3. Dianne Vitagliano says:

    You are awesome! God bless you and all of our furbabies!

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