TIME animals

An Abandoned Dog Waited a Month for His Owner to Return. Then He Finally Got Rescued

Boo the dog sits on a mattress outside the home where his owners abandoned him. He was rescued earlier this month by Dustin Oliver of the Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue.
Dustin Oliver—Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue Boo the dog sits on a mattress outside the home where his owners abandoned him. He was rescued earlier this month by Dustin Oliver of the Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue.

Boo's rescuer spent 15 hours gaining his trust

For most people, the sight of an abandoned dog curled up on a mattress outside an empty house might cause them to worry about the animal and maybe share the photo on social media. But for one Detroit man, the photo sent him on a multi-day journey to rescue the dog.

After seeing a photo of the dog, nicknamed Boo, Dustin Oliver, the founder of Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue, said he was out the door within five minutes. Boo’s owners had moved out of their home a month before, neighbors told Oliver, but they left their dog behind along with other unwanted items such as the mattress, a couple of dressers and some pillows.

Ever loyal, Boo waited patiently for his owners to return. Neighbors fed him, but the dog refused to move from in front of his old home, Oliver said.

When Oliver showed up on the morning of Oct. 16, he sat down with the dog, hoping to coax Boo into leaving. “I was there talking to him and trying to get him to trust humans again,” Oliver told TIME. But Boo was not budging.

Oliver stayed for 11 hours, only leaving around 1 a.m. He returned the next day, bearing two Sausage McMuffins and hash browns. Boo eagerly ate all the food, Oliver said, but it took another few hours until the dog finally let his new friend put a collar on him.

“I think certain people have a certain energy around them. Dogs, and all animals, pick up on those,” Oliver said. “Boo trusted me because he knew, he could sense that aura.”

Oliver scooped up Boo in a blanket and drove him straight to the vet, where he found out Boo is heartworm positive. This means nobody can adopt Boo until he is healthy again, which will likely take six months. But in the meantime, Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue is looking for a family to foster Boo so he can get better.

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