Abandoned Senior Dog 'Makes You Lose Faith in Mankind'

But he's now safe and getting love and vet care.

Arthur abandoned senior dog
Arthur is believed to be at least 12 years old.

Speak Rescue and Sanctuary

The details are a little vague, but the story is horrible.

Somewhere in the small town of Sedalia, Missouri, there’s a house where people come and go, spending a few nights or a few weeks whenever they need a place to stay. Somewhere along the way, the people took off but a senior dog was left behind.

Like an unwanted lamp or dusty refrigerator magnets, people abandoned their family pet to fend for himself.

Likely the neighbors noticed him wandering around but someone eventually called animal control and an officer picked up the emaciated and frightened Australian shepherd mix.

The matted, starved dog was guessed to be at least a dozen years old. The word is that he was on his own for a couple of weeks before he was found. No one knows what he was eating, how he was surviving, or why he wasn’t discovered sooner.

He was dropped off at the local animal shelter where he shut down, obviously in pain and so afraid.

In the meantime, the pup’s story ricocheted around the animal rescue world as people shared the mournful image of the senior dog sprawled in the shelter kennel. Who could take this old and ailing dog?

Speak Rescue and Sanctuary, based in St. Louis, stepped up.

Local volunteer Cindi Doyal picked up the dog from the shelter and drove 230 miles to meet with Judy Duhr, Speak’s founder and director. Doyal said she cried the entire way.

“I cried all the way there and all the way home,” Doyal tells Treehugger. “Every time I see a picture of that dog I cry. I have not been heartbroken over a dog like that in I don’t know how long.”

Just Bones and Fur

Duhr immediately took the newly named Arthur to the vet because he was in such severe pain. He jumps anytime anyone touches him and quivers all over. The vet gave him pain medication but couldn’t get X-rays or other tests until they are able to ease his agony.

He’s heading back to the vet in a few days when they hope to be able to do tests to see whether he’s just battling the manageable aches of old age or if there’s something more serious causing his issues. 

It takes Arthur ages to eat a meal, even soft, canned food. Likely his teeth hurt and maybe his stomach shrunk after not eating for so long. He's also mostly deaf and blind.

“It makes you cry. It breaks your heart. It makes you lose faith in mankind,” says Duhr. But she points out the kindness of Doyle who drove hundreds of miles to get Arthur to safety and to the legions of people who have reached out to donate to his care or ask what the older pup needs.

Arthur’s fur is incredibly matted and Duhr’s voice cracks when she describes him as “just bones and fur. There’s nothing to him at all.”

When his pain levels drop, he’s going to the vet for a bath and grooming to remove the mats, which should make him feel so much better.

The hope is that he’ll spend the rest of his days in the care of a hospice foster home where he can have plenty of food, a soft bed, and no fear that he’ll be abandoned again.

“His spirit is broken, he’s confused, but he’s still very sweet,” says Duhr, who says that Arthur gently nose-bumped her cat and one of her dogs. 

“I think he trusts the animals more than he does humans right now. He doesn’t flinch with them like he does with people and he showed interest in them.”

You can follow Mary Jo and her foster stories on Instagram @brodiebestboy.