Rescuer saves near-death puppy found on her street and nurses it back to health.

Stephanie Smith-Justus acquired a name from a involved neighbor in Could. He’d simply noticed a dog in determined want of help and had no thought what to do.

Smith-Justus, who works at a metropolis shelter and likewise runs the no-kill Buchanan County Humane Society in Virginia, grabbed her husband and dashed all the way down to the top of her road, the place a neighbor stated he noticed the dog.

She was prepared to surrender after combing the dense woodland area. However then her husband found the dog, who was mendacity in a patch of weeds on the finish of the highway. “‘Stephanie, I don’t assume he’s going to dwell,’” he stated. Smith-Justus revealed to The Dodo.

“At first, he appeared to have been scalded,” Smith-Justus stated. At solely 4 months previous, the pet was lined in a extreme case of demodectic mange, which he had almost definitely inherited from his mom. “It was fairly dangerous,” she said. “Consider it as a second-degree burn.”

Because it occurred, a vet had not too long ago moved right into a home down the block, so Smith-Justus and her husband scooped the small pet and dashed there. “We didn’t even knock,” she defined. “I merely raced in with him into her home.”

The vet noticed the dog, subsequently named Watkins after the road the place he was found, and sensed one thing was unsuitable. “She claimed he was dying,” Smith-Justus defined.

They took him to the vet’s workplace, the place they found his pores and skin was solely the start of his issues. He’d been shot with a pellet gun many instances. He weighed solely 34 kilos and had not eaten for therefore lengthy that his intestines had collapsed.

His ankles had not fashioned accurately on account of his malnutrition. Smith-Justus stated, “His tendons had misplaced their flexibility.” “He couldn’t even stand on his paw pads. It was disagreeable to see him stroll as a result of he flopped down on his wrists.”

His small physique was on the verge of collapsing as a result of mange. “He was actually pouring with fluids,” Smith-Justus recalled, describing an 8-inch moist space that surrounded him wherever he sat. “He was simply so puffy.”

Smith-Justus was devastated by Watkins’ scenario and actually needed to assist him, however her first precedence was to do what was kindest.

“If he’s so horrible, if you could euthanize him, I perceive,” she informed the vet, “however I need to do what’s finest for him.” “‘Let’s assist him,’ she urged.”

It wasn’t easy, although. Watkins’ bowels twisted shortly after being transported to the clinic, and he was hurried into emergency surgical procedure, from which the physician didn’t count on him to recuperate.

“She informed me he wouldn’t dwell and that I ought to say good-by,” Smith-Justus claimed. “And he was nonetheless going sturdy the subsequent morning.”

However a couple of weeks later, issues went from dangerous to worse. He stopped consuming, dropping 34 kilos and having to have a feeding tube positioned, which he later chewed off. Smith-Justus described his rehabilitation as “a comedy of errors.”


Watkins spent 119 days on the vet’s workplace and briefly in Virginia Tech’s intensive care unit. And, as he battled his means again to well being after a tough begin in life, one thing equally poignant started to occur.

Smith-Justus started to obtain messages of encouragement from people all world wide who had heard Watkins’ story and needed to want him nicely on his highway to restoration. Blankets and dog beds started to reach from all throughout the USA and even overseas; one household traveled a number of states to see him.

A Fb web page devoted to documenting his expertise now has over 12,000 followers.

“His images and his story will need to have struck a chord with them in the identical means that it did with me,” Smith-Justus stated.

And, owing to Watkins’ military of supporters – and his tenacity – he was capable of return dwelling with Smith-Justus on July 11.

In fact, he wasn’t utterly freed from physicians. Each Tuesday, he needed to go to the physician for an ongoing ear an infection, and each Thursday, he needed to carry out “pet chemo” to eliminate the demodectic mange.

However his persistence continued to astound everybody. When his legs continued to malfunction, Smith-Justus scheduled an appointment to have them examined. However, simply as she was about to take him, Watkins took one other big stride – actually. “He instantly stood up and started strolling as he was purported to,” Smith-Justus defined. “I’m puzzled.”

Watkins progressively improved over the next a number of months, and whereas he’s nonetheless recuperating at the moment, he’s far nearer to turning into a cheerful, wholesome 10-month-old pet than anyone may have predicted.

And he’s at all times rewarding Smith-Justus and her family and friends along with his progress. He was terrified of autos and weed eaters, however now he enjoys automobile journeys. He’s regaining confidence and has already grown stronger by working about within the yard, one thing he solely learnt to do a couple of weeks in the past with out crying.

“He’s such a delight; such a pleasant pet,” she stated. “He grew to become stronger, his pores and skin improved, and his ears improved.”

Watkins additionally discovered a finest good friend in his toy lobster, which he retains in his water bowl till night after which fetches to snuggle with.

And, regardless of his tough upbringing, Watkins is unexpectedly full of affection. Watkins leapt straight in to undertake a bunch of soot-covered kittens and their mom who had been broken in a house fireplace when Smith-Justus not too long ago took them in, washing them as their fearful mom gazed on.

Watkins has a protracted highway forward of him, and he’s now taking Prozac to cope with the stress of his medical procedures. However every new day exhibits extra of the tiny dog that was buried behind all of Watkins’ childhood ache.

“The physicians at Virginia Tech knowledgeable me that they hoped and prayed for him, however they didn’t assume he had probability of life… he astonished us all,” she added. “He actually is a miracle.”

For those who’d need to contribute to Watkins’ ongoing veterinary bills, you might accomplish that right here.


10 Common Dog Health Problems

Some health problems are specific to certain breeds, such as breathing complications for flat-faced dogs. But several other canine health issues can affect any dog. Here are 10 typical health conditions you need to watch out for in your four-legged best friend:

Top 10 Common Dog Health Problems

Skin Problems

One of the most obvious signs that your dog has a skin condition is itching. Other symptoms that may suggest that your dog has a skin problem include rashes, redness, dry skin, lumps, bumps, skin sores, dandruff, and hair loss.

Ear Diseases

Approximately 20 percent of dogs suffer from ear disease. It’s particularly common in breeds with floppy ears like cocker spaniels and basset hounds. It’s common to see wax buildup or discharge in their ear canal. But others may experience pain, itchiness, redness, swelling, and crusting in the ears.

Urinary Tract Infections

Simply known as UTI, this condition can make it uncomfortable for your beloved companion to pass urine. Signs of urinary tract infection include drinking water more than usual and passing urine more often than usual. Your dog may also only pass a small amount or lose bladder control. Additionally, you may see blood in their urine or notice a strong smell to it.


There are countless reasons why your pet may throw up. You don’t need to visit the vet each time your dog vomits. But it’s also not something you can just ignore. Don’t try to guess. If the vomiting persists or occurs with other symptoms like diarrhea or lethargy, you need to rush to the vet. It could be a sign of severe health problems, such as poisoning or gastrointestinal blockage.


This symptom may occur on its own or be accompanied by vomiting. Its potential causes are similar to vomiting. One or two episodes of diarrhea may not be a pet emergency. But recurring diarrhea can result in dehydration.


At some point in their lives, your pet may have to deal with discomfort due to internal or external parasites. Symptoms of parasites generally vary, depending on a few factors. These include the kind of parasite that has plagued your pet, where it lives, and how severe its infestation is.

Dental Issues

Like us, your dog can develop canine dental diseases due to high levels of plaque buildup. Several signs indicate that your pet may have dental disease. These include difficulty eating, bleeding of the gums or teeth, loose teeth, and bad breath.


Nearly 30 percent of the general dog population is considered obese. Several factors contribute to a pet’s risk. These include age, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise, and overfeeding, among others.


This joint problem can restrict your dog’s mobility. Bring Fido to the vet if you see your dog slow down or limp before and after walks. Other signs include licking or chewing on tender areas and behavioral changes.


Symptoms of dog poisoning vary widely, depending on the kind of toxin a pet has been exposed to. The signs can range from vomiting to drooling, breathing difficulties, seizures, or worse, coma. Some of the most common poisonous substances are human foods like chocolates, grapes, raisins, onions, and caffeine. Other known culprits are human medications, household cleaning products, pesticides, and some plants.

A Poisonous Cobra Assists in Caring for Puppies Thrown into a Well.

Shelter dog’s gratitude moves mother to tears during journey home.