How a Dog Found in a Garbage Pile in Egypt Found His Calling in America

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
It's a long way from the garbage heap where Lucky was found to the places in the U.S. where he brightens the lives of countless people today. Domenick Scudera

A baladi doesn’t usually make it far on the streets of Cairo. Especially one who has been hit by a car.

In fact, back in 2013, this street dog — called a baladi in Egypt — could only drag himself around the streets, his deadened back legs dangling behind him.

And yet, this baladi managed to get by for a couple of months. Some people took notice of him.

One day, someone from a local animal welfare group even came looking for him.

Close up of sick dog's face
When he was first found, he was only 'lucky' to be alive. Domenick Scudera

The woman found him at last, "in the garbage," she would later note.

He was "totally paralyzed, his back legs were dead because of gangrene, full of mange and dirt, totally blind, poop and garbage were stuck on his body."

She cleaned him, had those back legs amputated. And she grew to love him so much, she gave him a name that made perfect sense: Lucky.

His story reached an animal rescue group in the United States called Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation, or SNARR.

SNARR brought Lucky to the U.S. where they hoped to find him a real home.

Chapter 2

Dog missing back legs
Although Lucky can really race in his custom wheelchair, he's had plenty of practice getting around without it. Domenick Scudera

The dog didn’t have to wait long. Domenick Scudera saw a post about him on Facebook. He already had a dog who was missing his legs. Only that dog — Cyrus — was missing his front legs. Like puzzle pieces finding each other from across the world, Lucky and Cyrus seemed a perfect fit.

A small dog in a wheelchair
Cyrus is a member of the Gerald P Schreiber Pet Therapy Program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Domenick Scudera

"Here was a another dog with two legs, but this time, he had front legs instead of back legs," Scudera recalls. "I thought that Cyrus and Lucky would make quite a pair."

Scudera wasted no time in filling out the adoption form.

And not long afterward, Lucky arrived at his Pennsylvania home.

"He balances on his legs without dragging his back end. He is so very special — how could he not capture your attention? He is one of the most unique dogs in the world."

The bond between Lucky and Cyrus — dogs with eerily matching disabilities — would only grow.

It seemed only fitting then that Lucky should follow his friend's lead when it came to a vocation.

Cyrus was a registered therapy dog, bringing his buoyant charm to children's hospitals and to anyone, really, whose heart could use a lift.

So Scudera set Lucky on the road to become a therapy dog, too. Of course, channeling that baladi determination, the dog sailed through certification tests, even passing the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen exam.

In June, it was official: Lucky joined the pet therapy program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, where he would make weekly visits to the amputees in its care.

An ID card for a registered therapy dog.
Lucky quickly became a huge hit at the hospital, where he visits every week. Domenick Scudera

"The two things I hear most often from patients are, ‘He's just like me’ and 'If he can do it, I can do it,'" Scudera says. "He is a visible symbol of resilience and endurance. And most importantly, he is so friendly, positive, happy and full-of-life. Patients are inspired by his indomitable spirit."

And so a dog who once lived, literally, from one inch to the next, found himself on the other side of the world — with family, friends and a story to inspire countless others.

Lucky boy, indeed.

You can follow the adventures of Lucky and Cyrus on Instagram.

Dog in a wheelchair sitting with bear mascot.
What a long, strange trip it's been for this little Egyptian street dog. Domenick Scudera