He cried when he told us about Nermal – he cried again when we told him we had rescued Nermal

The call about Nermal came just in time. He was close to dying, frozen by his own urine to the floor of the doghouse he had been chained to for years. It was one of those calls that Animal Advocates got too many times to count.

I was told: "The neighbours around here say an old dog has been chained up near me for about ten years. They all tried to get the SPCA to help him, but they had to give up. I myself phoned the SPCA several times.

"He was a friendly old boy and he would come as far as his chain allowed to say hello to me and my dog as we passed down his lane, but then about six months ago I stopped seeing him. All winter I walked past and I thought he must be gone. And then one day, I heard him crying. Can you come quickly to see him?"

I did come quickly. I didn't know if anyone were home, but I could see his tail hanging out of his doghouse, so I walked up the driveway to his doghouse and there he was, his rear legs paralyzed from old-dog spinal degeneration. He was unable to get out to pee or defecate. He was frozen to the floor of the doghouse by his own urine-soaked long hair. He had stopped coming down the driveway to say hello to the neighbour months ago. He was left, too paralyzed to walk down the driveway. He was left, soaked in urine and matted with feces. All those months. He was such a dear boy that he accepted his life and fate, just as he always had.

He was matted all over his body, huge, heavy mats full of urine and feces. His water bowl had only a bit of filthy frozen water in it.

He had to be released, almost hair by hair, slowly and gently pulling it out of the ice. He never made a sound, just turned his head and watched. It seemed to take ages. When he was finally free I picked him up and carried him in my arms to my car. The autumn that the neighbour saw him was the last time he walked.

First to the vet for a health exam and X-rays. Then a grooming...

...then a bath. You can see how much he liked that nice warm water.

And then a real home and a real family...

...and warmth and love and friends...

...and a cart so that he could go on walks and run with his friends.

He was a lovely boy and a lovely old man. His jailers never knew what a treasure they had, but his family did, as his "very happy endings" photos show.


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