It was’t long ago that 8-year-old Sasha was found tied to a lamppost near a medical complex in Clayton, North Carolina.
Tucked into the sad dog’s collar was a note from whoever abandoned the animal, asking that he be given to a “loving home.” Thought the note did not mention why Sasha was surrendered this way, it did mention all the things that make Sasha a great dog: He enjoys head pets, gets along with children and “absolutely loves steaks.”
A cute canine like Sasha didn’t stay tied to the lamppost for long. Joy Frannicola, who is currently caring for the dog, told PEOPLE via email that she was contacted by someone at the medical complex about the lonely pet.
Frannicola is the founder of Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue, an animal rescue and adoption center based in Smithfield, North Carolina. By the time she learned about Sasha, the dog had already been picked up by Johnston County Animal Services and was under a mandatory 72-hour stray hold.
An experienced animal rescuer, Frannicola called up shelter supervisor Graham Price and worked with him to assess Sasha’s health and temperament.
“He was underweight, somewhat lethargic and had hair loss from what we found was a flea allergy,” Frannicola said of what Sasha’s initial check-up revealed. The pup was obviously quite sad, too.
That frown soon turned upside down, however. Thanks to Frannicola and Price’s efforts, along with the assistance from Willowrun Veterinary Hospital, Sasha’s hair is growing back. He has also been neutered, brought up to date on his shots and dewormed.
His heart is healing, too: at Frannicola’s rescue, Sasha is receiving plenty of affection, regular walks and the opportunity to meet new animal friends. Now the only thing that is missing from this pooch’s life is the right forever home.
“He has not been adopted yet. Because of his history (as we know it), we are looking for a specific type of home for him. He gets along with other dogs, but we would rather he be placed in a situation where he can have a one-on-one relationship with his human, and not have to share affection,” Frannicola said, adding that Sasha recently moved in with his foster mom, Lorna, who hopes to become the dog’s “furever” mom.
“He is curious about his new surroundings, very eager to please. He loves to go on walks and have his head and ears rubbed. He is affectionate, and wants to be near his human. He would be the perfect companion for an older person or couple. Very low maintenance,” Sasha’s hero added about the many traits that make him a wonderful companion.
It is still unclear why someone would leave behind such a sweet dog like Sasha, but Frannicola knows firsthand that pet surrender is not uncommon.
“I cannot begin to think of the reasons his family abandoned him, but the fact that he was left with the note shows that they did care for him and wanted the best for him. The economy here in North Carolina is not good. People are surrendering their pets to county shelters in record numbers,” she said. “Most of the shelters are posting that they are full, and if pets are owner-surrendered, they will most likely be euthanized because of space issues. I am hoping that he was left like he was because they knew the possibility of him being euthanized if surrendered to a shelter.”
Frannicola suggests pet owners who find themselves in this difficult situation reach out to local rescues and no-kill shelters. Rescue groups can likely provide food and supplies to families struggling to keep their pets, and can help owners find fosters or adopters if necessary.
To help Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue find homes for Sasha and other dogs like him, visit the organization’s website.
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