Donna Lochmann could hear a low growl as she leaned over to look under an unoccupied van. After receiving a call about a stray dog sleeping under cars in a residential area of St. Louis, Missouri, this experienced rescuer went straight to find him.
She checked a few cars first, with no success, until she finally heard a familiar sound. The dog’s growl intensified as she neared the ground, but Mrs. Lochmann knew not to be intimidated.
“It’s not mean,” said
Ms. Lochmann, who works for Stray Rescue of St. Louis as a stray dog rescue manager. “It’s just that they’re scared and that’s how they protect themselves somewhat.”
Soon, Lochmann found himself face to face with a white pit bull whose eyes begged for help. He is still growling, but she refuses to leave him alone.
She could see by the dog’s weight that he hadn’t eaten in a long time, so Lochmann began tossing pieces of Vienna sausage under the car to allay his fears. As expected, the pup wolfed down the sausages. But then he did something surprising: he started wagging his tail.
Slowly Lochmann began throwing the sausages away from the car. After enjoying a few delicious bites in his hideout, the dog slid under the van and headed for his rescuer. He was hesitant, but his tail kept wagging.
“All he wanted was to know we were going to help him,” Stray Rescue of St. Louis wrote in a Facebook post.
Eventually the pup, which Ms Lochmann called Avalanche, got close enough that she could put a leash on him.
His wagging tail indicated to Mrs. Lochmann that he was happy to be rescued, but he refused to follow her to her Jeep on his own. So the rescuer took another handful of Viennese sausages and created a trail between Avalanche’s van and her Jeep.
“He followed this little sausage trail,” Lochmann said. “And then he let me take it and put it in the Jeep.”
Lochmann drove Avalanche straight to the vet, where he received a full medical evaluation and a much-needed bath.
Avalanche was dangerously skinny and his hips were covered in deep wounds from sitting on concrete for so long. To help him, the vet team prescribed him antibiotics and put him on a refeeding program so he could start gaining weight at a healthy rate.
Avalanche only spent a few days at the veterinary clinic before finding a loving foster family to take her in. The people caring for him at the clinic had fallen in love with him and were sad to see him go, but they were so happy that Avalanche could spend Christmas in a warm home instead of alone on the streets.
Since being placed in foster care, Avalanche’s health has improved and his personality has blossomed. When he’s not curled up alongside his doting foster mom, he can usually be found spending time with his foster dog siblings.
“He is doing very well and getting on well with everyone,” Ms Lochmann said. “He likes to be where he is.”
Although Avalanche still has a long road to recovery, Lochmann can already see a change in this sweet pup.
“You can see the difference in his eyes,” Lochmann said. “There is more life in his eyes now than when we received him. He no longer has that defeated look”.