The boxers, who suffer from demodex mange, scored a freedom ride to the Last Chance at Life rescue
You never know what you’re going to find at the “night drop” at the Animal Friends of the Valleys shelter in Wildomar, California. In this case, it was a dog that looked a lot like a pink Dalmatian.
The pink pup and a buddy, who are actually boxers, were there waiting on the morning of Feb. 13 — both suffering from a treatable skin condition called demodex mange. They would both later be named Asia and Artie. While some people give information about the animals they’re leaving behind at the anonymous drop-off kennel, on this particular day, that wasn’t the case.
“I felt so badly for Artie and Asia when I first saw them,” says Jennifer Glover, a registered veterinary technician for the shelter, who was the first to meet the dogs that day. “But I was encouraged by the fact that we would be able to start helping them.”
As you can imagine, these were the faces of confused pups, asking what most dogs likely ask when they end up in shelters: Why am I here?
“They were very sweet when they arrived but they were depressed,” Glover adds. “Within just one day of having someone care for them here, they were so much happier and more outgoing.”
Both Asia, the pink 10-month-old, and Artie, 2 years old, suffer from the common infestation of the skin by tiny, eight-legged mites. It causes hair loss and pain, and can usually be cured with good treatment (it was also determined that Asia has a grade 2-3 heart murmur, which will require an echocardiogram, and Artie has some eye concerns that may require surgery once his skin is healed).
So far, the pups are responding well to treatment — medicated shampoo and pain management — and were lucky enough to score a ticket out of the shelter to a rescue that is determined to find them both loving new homes, Last Chance at Life. And on some level, they seem to know that their future is bright.
“I was lucky enough to get to pick them up and take them on their Freedom Ride to LCAL,” says Niccola Gentile, a volunteer, who loves participating in the freedom rides. “Asia came right out of the kennel to leave with me, while Artie was still nervous and took some coaxing to get a leash on him. But once out, he was so excited! Asia just wanted to be with him and would focus all her energy on getting next to him; unless of course she was trying to give you kisses.”
Both dogs are described as super playful — the video here is evidence of that — despite everything that’s happened to them.
“Asia was showing her true boxer colors in the back seat of the truck. Wiggling all over, using our pet hammock to scratch her back on, and playing with Artie for half the ride back to LCAL,” Gentile tells PEOPLE. “She is a talker, as I call it. When she just wants you to know something she will tell you. Once Asia fell asleep, Artie just sat up and looked out the window the whole time; every once and a while stepping over the hammock onto the center console to give me a kiss.”
Once they arrived at LCAL, both dogs did amazingly well. Artie was a little grumpy when he greeted one male volunteer, but given the upheaval of recent days, that’s to be expected.
“He is yet again in a new place, with new people and he doesn’t want to be hurt anymore,” Gentile says. “Once they ate, calmed down and were given lots of love, they were able to relax and we hope they know they are in a place that will love them forever, ONCE an LCAL dog, ALWAYS an LCAL dog.”
Lisa Hamilton, founder and president of LCAL, says there’s already interest in these two: A family that previously adopted from the rescue and lost one of its boxers to cancer is coming to meet them both on Saturday morning, with the intention of choosing one to adopt.
“I assure you they were both unsettled with being dumped but they know very quickly that the staff at Animal Friends of the Valleys and the volunteers at LCAL are their ‘friends’ and there to help them,” says Hamilton. “They are with us until we find their perfect home.”
If you’re interested in adopting either of these two, contact Last Chance at Life rescue via its website.