Skip to Main Content

A Forgotten Dog’s Tale

Written by Alisa Mullins | January 2, 2013

PETA’s Community Animal Project staffers’ days are filled with tending to “forgotten” dogs, animals who have been relegated to a chain or a cage in the backyard and left to live out their days in solitary confinement—a punishment reserved for society’s most dangerous criminals, yet these dogs have committed no crime. When our caseworkers find them, forgotten dogs are often suffering from the final stages of cancer, heartworm infestations, untreated infections, mange, hypothermia, or malnutrition. If you give a dog only the briefest of glances when you toss kibble in the bowl once a day, it’s all too easy to turn a blind eye when the dog deteriorates from simply being filthy to being gravely ill.

Recently, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk encountered one such dog, an elderly Rottweiler mix named Sam. She wrote about Sam in an essay that was posted on Ladies’ Home Journal‘s sister website,

He had been a puppy once, welcomed into a home, played with, made a fuss over. But there came a day, probably not long into his young life, when he became too messy, too much trouble, too big—he was a Rottweiler mix, after all—too bothersome, and that’s when he was put outside in the pen. That day was some 11 years ago. . . .

When I found him, he was lying curled up in his plastic box with the chewed sides and the bare floor, just as he must surely have spent most of every day and every night for all those years. There was not a scrap of bedding, even though it was 37 degrees out, with temperatures forecast to drop to below zero that night. The pen stank of feces, and I could see his waste among the leaves.

He had his back to me, so I called out to him and made loud kissing sounds, but it wasn’t until I whistled that he heard me, turned around, and slowly came out of the box, making his way to the gate. …

His coat was dull and dirty. His ears bore faint scars from the previous summer, when he could not escape the flies, who, drawn to his urine, incessantly nibbled at him. I put a big chew bone near him, and he stopped, sniffed, and bent his head to the ground, taking a while to find it. That’s when I realized that he had been navigating by smell and familiarity. He was blind.

Read Ingrid’s essay in its entirety at

Commenting is closed.
  • Mellie says:

    They saved the poor dog only to kill him 🙁 “There are not enough homes for young, healthy, attractive, clean, housebroken dogs, so there was no point in putting Sam through eye surgery and trying to teach him to live a different life. His long, miserable life ended with a delicious meal, a nap on a comfy couch, many loving caresses and ear scratches, and even a roll in real grass. If there is a heaven, Sam is now in it, and if there is not, perhaps it’s enough that he is no longer in hell—lonely, neglected, and cold.”

  • Heather says:

    thank you Ingrid. But I too, am wondering if this dog received assistance?

  • Ophelia says:

    So what happened to this dog? Did Ingrid adopt him?

  • Lisa says:

    Im sure if you had made an appeal on his behalf there would of been many come forward to give him a home but you took that away from him not giving him a chance just because an animal is blind do’snt mean they dont want to be in a family or feel love, i have a rescued blind cat but still loves a cuddle you call yourself an animal rescue organisaton.

  • suchithra says:

    I would like to receive newsletters

  • Christine says:

    Thank you, Ingrid, for all you do. Go Vegan!

  • Karlo says:

    So was assistance given to this poor dog?