The call from a distraught woman came in to PETA’s emergency pager late on a frigid Friday night. She had stopped by her old neighborhood to visit Justice, the 7-month-old puppy she had given to a former neighbor several months earlier, and made a horrifying discovery. The puppy was chained up outside, and the collar she had put on him when he was just 2 months old had not been loosened or changed by his new owners. As a result, the collar was cutting deeply into the growing dog’s neck, causing a gruesome wound that oozed blood and pus.
Two PETA fieldworkers set out for the long drive to the home in rural North Carolina right away. Justice must have heard the PETA van pull up and heard the voices and knocks on the door, but he made no move to come out of his doghouse. People came and went all the time, but nobody ever came to see him.
But these people were different. The fieldworkers approached Justice’s doghouse, calling to him in low, soothing voices. Cautious at first, it slowly dawned on Justice that these visitors were there for him. The throbbing in his neck temporarily forgotten, he started wagging his tail furiously, his whole body vibrating with excitement.
PETA’s fieldworkers knew right away that Justice needed immediate medical attention, so they gently loaded him into the van, careful not to jostle his injured neck, and rushed him to the closest 24-hour veterinary clinic. As Justice was led away by a clinic worker to have his collar cut off and his neck wound cleaned and bandaged, he never stopped wagging his tail, despite the fact that he must have been in excruciating pain.
Justice spent the next month recovering with a PETA foster family, becoming fast friends with his canine foster sister, Ellie (another PETA rescue), and the resident cats. A blog post about him on PETA’s website caught the eye of a Washington, D.C., couple, and they traveled down to our headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, to meet him. The connection was immediate—it was love at first lick for both Justice and his new guardians.
Justice is now happily ensconced in his new home. His new guardians report that he is an incorrigible snuggler who likes to climb into laps and monopolize the bed at night. He relishes visits to the dog park, commandeering sticks, and eating peanut butter and the occasional stolen orange peel, and he has yet to figure out that the dogs on TV can’t hear him when he barks at them.
Justice’s neck wound has fully healed, and the fur is finally growing back—and his psychological scars are fading as well. Whether he knows it or not, he never has to worry about being left outside alone on a chain again.