For most people, Christmas is a time of hope and togetherness. But when you’re two stray dogs alone on the streets, even togetherness can make it tough to feel hopeful at all.
Just before Christmas, the Los Angeles-based rescue group Hope for Paws received a call about two homeless canines forced to fend for their lives. They were a dedicated father/son duo — and they only had each other.
Apparently, there had once been a mother dog in their midst as well. But tragically, she’d been struck by a car and killed.
Fortunately, Hope for Paws rescuers Eldad Hagar and Loreta Frankonyte have extensive expertise helping homeless animals.
So they rushed to the designated area, and immediately set up a protective gate to prevent the dogs from bolting.
Shining a light into a gloomy alcove, they encountered a scruffy-looking black pup sitting alone on a blanket. The second pooch was hunched behind a staircase in the shadows.
When Frankonyte produced a bag containing treats, the canine on the blanket scurried away in fear. But because the dog was likely close to starving, he gradually sidled forward to investigate the tempting aroma.
The father dog remained frightened and aloof. Preferring to monitor the proceedings from a safe distance, he watched his son begin to wolf down the food and wag his tail appreciatively.
Frankonyte had a relatively easy time looping the trademark Hope for Paws “Lucky Leash” around this younger pup’s neck. He struggled a bit, but calmed down quickly — and she decided to name him “Speedy.”
Still, Dad Dog was reluctant to venture any closer. As the rescuers crept forward carefully, he retreated near the wall and literally trembled in terror.
But perhaps, on some level, he sensed that these kindhearted humans were here to help. Because when Frankonyte began to stroke his ears, he gradually relaxed — then allowed a Lucky Leash to be eased over his head, too.
The rescuers named the older dog Sylvester, and it wasn’t long before they’d coaxed both canines into their waiting rescue vehicle.
The dogs were taken to a nearby animal hospital, where they received a wellness check and a much-needed professional grooming.
During his sudsy-warm bath, Sylvester kept a fatherly eye on Speedy as the groomer’s shears buzzed away. Later, sitting amidst fluffy blankets in a comfy new kennel, the older dog actually needed a moment to recognize his squeaky-clean son.
But once he did, he signified his parental approval with some animated tail-wagging. It was the first time rescuers had seen Sylvester display such an eager sign of enthusiasm.
A couple days later, the pair was decked out in their festive holiday finery — complete with colorful jingle bell collars. They bounded excitedly through the backyard of their foster home … grateful for the gifts of life, love, togetherness, and caring friends who took the time to change their lives forever.
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