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A fearful stray dog, wary of humans, musters the courage to approach a man, seeking comfort from its pain

Often alone, stray animals have life-threatening medical problems. Respected animal rescuers work nonstop to assist these helpless species. When they learned about a homeless dog with a big tumour, they acted and resolved to locate and save it. Following a difficult search, they learned the dog had been sighted close to a local pagoda.

When the rescuers arrived, the massive weight on the dog’s shoulder stunned them. Clearly in great suffering, the dog was continuously trying to lick the tumor off. Realizing how long he had been suffering alone broke the rescuers. They understood they had to get him straight to a veterinarian.

The dog was seen by the emergency vet partner, and he was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized tumour. The dog’s resilience truly astounded the veterinarian. The crew smelled the sick tumour, which was leaking pus and blood, as they were looking at him. There was only urgent surgery available.

The dog seemed to be another animal once the tumors were taken out. During his recuperation, he required ongoing IV antibiotics and painkillers. The rescue agency began searching for medical foster homes to provide ongoing care once he became stabilized. In a poignant tale of courage and trust, a fearful stray dog, long wary of humans, mustered the strength to approach a man, seeking solace from its pain. This poignant meeting happened in a busy metropolitan park, where Shadow, a thin and scruffy mixed-breed stray, had been living on the margins for some months.

Shadow had struggled constantly for survival in his life. Scarred from past events and conditioned to dread people, the dog negotiated the streets with a mix of caution and desperation. Though he sought cover wherever he could find it and scavenged for food, his cautious demeanor kept him alone and apart. The residents of the area often saw Shadow darting through alleys or resting under park benches, always maintaining a safe distance from people.


One crisp morning, Shadow’s situation changed dramatically. Weak from nursing an injured paw and hungry, he ended up back in the park. His slow, crippled gait clearly showed his tiredness and pain. Shadow sensed a man calmly sitting on a bench, throwing crumbs to the birds at this vulnerable moment. Kind-hearted animal lover Mark had seen Shadow in the park over the past several weeks.

Understanding Shadow’s situation, Mark had been leaving food and drink for him in an attempt to build his confidence. That day, Shadow’s agony grew intolerable, and his instincts drove him towards Mark. Fear and hope mixed together as Shadow gently came forward, his body shaking. Mark stayed still, speaking softly and gently, observing the dog’s wary advance.

As Shadow drew closer, Mark extended a hand, palm up, allowing Shadow to sniff and decide on his own terms. After several tense moments, Shadow, driven by his need for comfort, nudged Mark’s hand with his nose. It was a moment of profound significance—the first step towards trust.

Mark continued to speak softly, offering small bits of food and water. Shadow, though still wary, began to relax slightly, sensing the kindness in Mark’s actions. Over the next hour, Mark carefully examined Shadow’s injured paw, noticing it was swollen and likely infected. With slow, deliberate movements, he managed to bandage the paw temporarily, all the while earning more of Shadow’s trust.

The journey towards full trust and healing was gradual. Mark, committed to helping Shadow, visited the park daily, bringing food, fresh water, and eventually a leash and collar. With patience and consistency, he gained Shadow’s confidence, leading to a visit to the vet, where Shadow received the necessary medical treatment.

Shadow’s story is a testament to the power of compassion and patience. His fearful approach to Mark marked the beginning of a new chapter, transforming from a life of pain and fear to one of care and companionship. The bond that formed between Shadow and Mark illustrates the profound impact that kindness and understanding can have, offering a second chance to those who have suffered.

Amazingly, the stray dog left to live on the streets recovered quickly and was ready for a new home earlier than predicted. His medical foster mother makes sure he takes his meds and shows up for all of his veterinarian visits—she loves him totally. He continues on painkillers, although he has made notable improvements.

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