Dexter, San Antonio, TX

Hi! I’m Dexter and my story started in January 2010 when I ended up in East Valley Shelter in Los Angeles, CA.

An email was sent out saying that time was running out for me, a 4-year-old pit bull named “Maverick” with skin condition who was very thin — you could see all of my ribs and hip bones. That’s all you can learn about me from the emails, accompanied by my sad photos.

The plea reached a man who saw the sadness in my eyes and the fear that showed in my shelter picture as I laid cowering on the cold concrete…and he could not get me out of his head. He saw my beautiful golden eyes and the look as if I had just been defeated. Yet he could see there was a glimmer of hope…and he decided he wanted — he had to — save my life!

So the man who would be my Daddy sent out the SOS email to find someone to pull me for him and to transport me down to San Diego where he lived before relocating near San Antonio, TX. Through networking this was accomplished; I was pulled and transported the following day to the hospital where my Daddy met me.

Oh and what a huge mess I was!

It turned out what the shelter thought was a skin condition was actually scars all over my body. I was missing teeth and what I have left was mostly filed down, which lead my dad to believe I had been used as bait. My eyes were almost swollen shut & I was horribly skinny & weak.

Although I had been beaten and battered, I was so happy to be saved that my dad said the first thing I did when I met him was showed him my signature small goofy smile that captured his heart as well as so many others.

I had to undergo an emergency surgery due to a botched neutering at the shelter. I also had to have surgery on my salivary gland — it was the size of a softball and was due to trauma. I had to have a few more extractions because the few teeth I had were cracked down to the root — the vet thought it was because I tried to chew whatever I was chained up to.

I had wear spots/calluses on my elbows and hind quarters from years of sitting and sleeping on concrete. My ears completely cut off so they lay flat against my head which has lead to chronic ear infections…

The vet determined I’m actually a senior — about 10 years old!! Quite a difference from what the shelter stated as being 4 years old…

I remained in the hospital for 9 days. My dad would visit me frequently and started to learn more about me. He would sit on the floor with me and I would slowly crawl into his lap — still unsure but he would reassure me it was OK to be a lap dog. (I didn’t even know such thing existed!!)

It was easy to see that I lived a life of abuse, being a bait dog and no telling what else for so many years. I cowered at everything — I would lay shaking, similar to my shelter picture if his voice was a certain tone, or if he raised his hand to reach for something. I was literally afraid of my own shadow, and that is no joke.

My dad started with the change in himself to work with me, which meant talking to me in low tones or “baby talk,” watching his movement around me (that it wasn’t quick movements that would scare me and make me cower or drop to the floor in fear). And from that point on he said my rehabilitation emerged…

Because I was so broken and defeated, he worked on my emotional needs by giving me lots of love, compassion, good food, treats, a warm bed and more love and a lot of affection and attention. Once I began to trust him, he started to work with commands — and I learned quickly and was rewarded with praises which I loves even more than treats!

My dad’s intention at first was to get me healthy, happy and find me a new home. That was when everyone thought I was 4 years old. As the days passed, I started to trust him more and my smile began to emerge. Dad said there was a light in my golden eyes that gave me a sense of hope and security.

At that point he promised me that I would never be hurt again and I will live out his life with him and the crew. I was beyond happy!!

A few months after having me, my dad said it was apparent that the physical abuse I endured had other effects on my body. Even when my lower spine was barely touched I would cry and yelp in pain. I wouldn’t jump on the couch or give him bear hugs like I did in the beginning. He took me to the vet and Xrays were ran…

The vet said they showed more signs of trauma to my back and lower spine/nerve endings, more than likely from being beat with something. I have nerve damage and also arthritis in my spine due to the trauma. I have been diagnosed with Spondylosis.

Dad started me on a few different supplements, medications and he’s happy to say it has gotten better over time. Although I will never be cured, I’m in less pain now; I can play with Smokey and will get on the couch and lay with my Daddy. I only takes supplements in my food and no longer on pain medication.

Another scare was a couple more months down the road when  I started breaking out in what looked like a lot of small type tumors all over my head, neck and ears. My dad was worried that it may be skin cancer but they turned out to be benign. So once again I had surgery and they were all removed (it turned out to be a virus after mass biopsies were done). Phew!

Today, 2 years after my rescue date, I’m ALWAYS smiling! My spirit is no longer broken. My dad says I’m very eager to please and is a big cuddly teddy bear. I love my Kong toys and run around as if it was the best gift ever! (It is!!!) I’m now like a little puppy in a big dog’s body!

I have a best friend in Smokey and I play like a puppy. In the beginning I had absolutely NO idea how to play and was deathly afraid of toys that made noises — Smokey showed me how to be a dog, how to play…and it built my confidence. Oh, and I no longer cower!

I now walk with my head and tail high — I strut my pitty self! My dad says he’s so very proud of me and the growth I’ve shown in the two years we’ve been together. I LOVE people and other dogs. I’m a goofy lug who wants nothing more than to be a part a family member and I have that with my family….

Dad has a kennel for me outside during the day when he had to go to work or do yard work. Yeah, that didn’t work! :-) I broke through the chain link to walk along side him while he mowed the yard. I broke through numerous crates in order to be with my other fur siblings; I just so badly wanted to be with everybody!

When I celebrated my first Christmas with my family, I received my favorite toys: Kongs, jolly balls, treats and a new orthopedic/memory foam bed!!! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!! My dad says I was such a happy and funny boy on Christmas morning, enjoying the festivities with all of my siblings. He says I show his gratitude on a daily basis and I continue to amaze him with my sweetness.

I share my story because I’m a perfect example that even when a dog is broken and deemed unadoptable, that isn’t always the case. Sad broken dogs like me deserve a second chance to have a wonderful life and I wanted to share this with other people to show how far I’ve come since my rescue. You can share my video too.

My dad hopes my story will be an inspiration to others and a reminder of why he and others like him do what they do — one dog, one life at a time. My dad couldn’t have help me without the help of so many people. And that networking via email, social media, etc. helps in the rescue of animals that are in need.

A special thanks to my bro Smokey The Pit Bull for helping to pave the way for me, showing me what it’s like to be a dog and taught me how to play.

So that’s my story, a once-broken dog with a new lease on life! And a GIANT SMILE!!

~ Dexter

Parent: Tyler

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