Animals bring so much joy to so many people’s lives, but unfortunately, the same can’t always be said in reverse. What compels certain people to go to the effort of buying a dog only to mistreat it or abandon it, no one can say for sure. For most of us, it’s not even something we can bear to think about. Animal charities and organizations are doing great work with outreach programs and educational pieces, but tragically, animal abuse just doesn’t seem to go away. But not every case of abuse ends as unhappily as it starts. For some dogs that have been the victims of cruelty, there’s a happy ending. And for as long as there are people like Judy Obregon in the world, there always will be.
The Dumping Ground
As iheartdogs.com writes, Fort Worth’s Echo Lake Park has become a notorious dumping ground for people to leave dead, dying, or unwanted dogs. Over the past few years, Judy Obregon, the founder of animal rescue center The Abandoned Ones, has rescued over 200 dogs from the infamous site. But for every dog she rescues, another two appear in its place. So prolific have the number of abandoned animals in the park become, Julie, who regularly posts the details of every new dog she finds to her Facebook page to spread awareness of the cruelty so many animals face, now makes two trips to the park a day, 6 days a week, in her efforts to save as many dogs as she can. Tragically, not all can be recused. Most of the dogs she finds are either already dead or too close to death to be saved. But that doesn’t stop her trying.
A Friend to the Voiceless Victims of Abuse
Julie knows that not every victim of animal abuse in the world can be recused. But as she says to the Dallas News, it never hurts to try. Over the past few years, she’s saved hundreds of dogs from both Echo Lake Park and the streets of Fort Worth. Some of the dogs have been abandoned, others have been chained to fences and neglected, others have faced a lifetime of unimaginable cruelty. Due to the proliferation of illegal dog fighting in the area, many of the dogs she finds are pit bulls or bait dogs, which, as she tells The Fort Worth Star Telegram, can be identified by bite marks, filed-down teeth, or razor cuts on their legs. After rescuing the dogs and taking them home, Julie makes sure they receive the medical help they need (which she funds both from her own pocket and through donations), before helping to find them homes with new, loving families.
It was on one of her regular trips to the park that Julie found Callie. As she was driving by, she noticed something white in the grass. Another dead dog, she initially thought. But then she noticed movement. After Julie pulled over and started approaching the animal, the little dog lifted her head and got up. As Julie rushed to meet her, the little dog tried to do the same. Her back legs had been hurt, but by force of will or something else, she managed to run all the way over, whimpering with every step. As soon as she got close enough to reach, she pushed her face into Julie’s hand in relief.
Around the little dog’s neck was a broken piece of tether. Looking around, Julie noticed the rest of it attached to a fence, suggesting the dog had been tied up before being abandoned. In her attempts to break free, she’d managed to injure her back legs. But as Julie told The Dodo, the saddest part was how, even after freeing herself, the little dog had stayed in the same place, as though she was waiting for whoever had abandoned her to come back and take her away.
After scooping the dog up and placing her gently in the car, Julie drove off. In a touching video Julie recorded of the moment, Callie, as Julie named her, can be seen casting one last fleeting look over her shoulder at where she’d been abandoned before turning to Julie and placing a grateful kiss on her cheek. Whatever unspeakable things she’d suffered, Callie had never lost her loving, trustful ways.
A Clean Bill of Health
As soon as she got back into town, Julie headed straight to the vets to get Callie checked over. Many of the dogs she finds require extensive treatment, but Callie was one of the lucky ones. After a thorough examination, the vet pronounced the all-clear. Although she’d hurt her legs when she broke free of her tether, she’d managed to escape injury. Despite being weak and malnourished, she was otherwise a healthy young dog.
Shortly after her rescue, Callie managed to find a temporary home with a foster family in the area. Under their care, she flourished. With each passing day, she grew healthier and happier. And it just got better. After a few weeks with her foster family, Callie managed to find a forever home. Julie updated her Facebook followers with the message, “Callie has been adopted! We’re so glad this sweet girl found the forever home that she deserves.” And of course, Callie (or Lucy, as her new family had named her) had to get in on the action too, posting “Guess who got ADOPTED? yes, me Callie !!! now Lucy/ My sleepover turned forever …Super Exciting !! My new mommy and daddy have adopted from TAO before and are clients at one of our vets. This means I get to see them often.”
The Work Goes On
Callie’s story ended happily. But Julie’s work is far from over. Echo Lake Park continues to be a dumping ground for unwanted animals, and for as long as it is, Julie will be doing all she can to save them. If you want to help dogs like Callie, get in touch with your local animal rescue center today. Whether you volunteer, donate, or even adopt, every contribution, no matter how small, can make a big difference. As Karen Davison says, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”