LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The initial post read “Dying dog dumped at the Kentucky Humane Society.”
That was the headline on Facebook a week ago. Since then, many have been following the journey of the dog, now named Ethan, as he faces both health scares and milestones during recovery.
The once-emaciated dog was found collapsed and alone by someone dropping off a donation. KHS said it’s likely someone left him there after weeks of neglect.
Ethan was barely hanging on.
“This is truly the thinnest dog I’ve ever seen that is still alive,” Dr. Emily Bewley, a KHS staff veterinarian, said shortly after finding him. “So, he’s actively dying.”
Bewley and others immediately got to work.
“His temperature wouldn’t read on the thermometer,” she said. “He was just so dehydrated. He had nothing to give as far as life goes.”
The night he was found, Ethan began showing signs he may not survive. So, he was rushed to an emergency hospital.
As time went on, the dog, once in the grips of death, slowly made progress.
Those at KHS called each milestone a miracle from the first wag of his tail, to standing with assistance and rebuilding his appetite.
“You can see his eyes just lighting up when he sees it,” one person caring for Ethan said, while he was being fed.
In the KHS Facebook video documenting the progress, another responded, “I know. He’s so excited. I’m so excited.”
Still, at this point in his recovery, vets said Ethan’s chances of survival were 50-50.
He had a long way to go with his muscle eaten away by starvation, but they kept working with him.
It was still impossible for the dog to walk without help, but he was released from the emergency hospital Wednesday.
Back home at the Humane Society, he got his own room decorated with his new name, blankets and toys.
The dog that couldn’t hold up his own head a week ago stunned those taking care of him as he began walking on his own.
“Wow, I can’t believe how amazing he’s doing,” one onlooker said.
Throughout the journey, caretakers said they were conflicted recognizing the suffering the dog was initially going through to survive, but ultimately glad they had given Ethan a chance.
“I was questioning whether or not I was doing the right thing,” Bewley said. “I’m glad that we pushed through because he’s actually a really happy dog. He’s wagging his tail. He loves to be around people. So, I guess what I learned was to just trust my gut and when you think you can help, at least give it a shot and give the animal a chance.”
Bewley said Ethan is not out of the woods yet, but, she’s now optimistic about his prognosis.
Over the past week, he has gained 21 pounds.