Two dogs, siblings, had lived together on the streets of Houston for years, eluding would-be rescuers and those who would hurt them alike. Finally, when they were injured — one hit by a car twice and the other shot — rescuers were able to capture the dogs and get them the medical care they urgently needed.
Benjamin and his sister Willa came to the notice of the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project in September. It’s a group of volunteers who go out to the areas where stray dogs roam and people abandon their pets. They feed the hungry dogs. Like other groups, when a dog is injured, the rescue takes the dog off the streets and gets the dog the medical care it needs.
So the feeders kept an eye out for the two dogs, but never saw them. The person who reported them said that they were living right off the freeway and that one dog’s leg was mangled. They got more calls about the dogs.
Finally, just a week ago, one of the volunteers got a call that said, “You really need to get the dogs now. His leg is mangled and her neck is really swollen.”
Two volunteers went out there and searched for the dogs. They were about to give up after hours spent in vain when they spotted the dogs. After chasing Benjamin, they managed to catch both dogs. They took them right to the vet.
It’s believed that Benjamin was run over twice. The original caller had seen Benjamin’s mangled left leg, but when he was captured, the right side of his body was raw from an obvious trauma. His paw was so badly mangled that the top of the paw was twisted down and the paw was completely flattened. The bones were protruding from the mass of tissue. He will have his leg amputated as there is no way to fix the damage, and when he was hit by the car, his shoulder was displaced as well.
Willa’s swollen neck was from a mass of necrotic tissue in her neck. She had gunshot (BBs) in her body, and something, maybe a BB, had caused an infection. The necrotic tissue had displaced her trachea and esophagus, which caused her to have difficulty eating. The night before she was to go into surgery, the wound burst and drained the blood and pus.
She had tubes inserted to help drain the infection.
Kelle Mann Davis, founder of the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project, said, “These dogs are very sweet. They were somebody’s pets.” She is temporarily fostering both dogs.
Regarding the BBs embedded in Willa, Davis explained, “75% of our dogs two years or older have some form of firearm embedded in them. Some of those kids – lots of gangs, lots of drugs. What’s better than a stray dog to use as target practice?”
According to Davis, the 5th Ward area in Houston is where many transient people live in poverty. They may move in and get a few dogs, then find that they can’t pay their rent. So they move in with family, but leave the dogs to fend for themselves. Some residents who see the strays but feel unable to help them are happy when the rescue helps. Davis said, “We picked up a German shepherd that was in terrible shape the other day, and someone came out of the house and started crying, saying “Thank you, thank you!”
“Like many of the strays on the streets, the dogs learn quickly that people are not nice. These two are very bonded and only around 1 1/2 years old,” Davis told Shelter Me. They were scared on the streets, but once they were in a home, they were extremely loving. Davis commented on the dogs’ fears: “Initial reaction, most of the dogs who have been on the streets, is to run. They have bullets in them; I’d run too. They are not used to people being nice. Their lives are so hard out there.”
It appears that Benjamin and Willa will be safe forever. There is a prospective adopter in Austin who has called about them to check on their progress every day. She will adopt both dogs, so they will be together always.
To donate to the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward and help the dogs of Houston, visit their website and click on the donate button.
The following image, of a dog lying on a pillow for comfort, went viral. It typifies how lonely a stray dog feels and how much they need comfort.
(All photos courtesy of Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward)
Sad update on Facebook about Benjamin. He did not survive. While he was awake and happy on three legs after the surgery, two days later he died in his sleep. The silver lining is that he knew he was loved at the end. His sister was adopted by the woman who was going to adopt them both.