Zaxby, Atlanta, GA

Hi! My name is Zaxby and this is my story.

On October 6, 2012, an animal control officer from DeKalb County, GA, found a black dog in a gutter, a pocket-sized pit bull with scabs, lacerations and bite marks all over its body. That was me.

I seemed lifeless; I was barely able to get up — many people thought I was dead. The compassionate animal control officer rushed me to an emergency vet clinic.

The humans are unsure if I was used as a “bait dog”. I also has some road rash on my belly and elbows so I may have also been hit by a car. While everyone waited to see if I’d make it, the staff decided to name me after a local fast food chicken restaurant, Zaxby. They lovingly referred to me as “the Chicken Wing dog” because on top of all my open wounds, my front left leg was deformed, resembling a chicken wing.

I don’t mind; I’m just happy they care enough to give me name. 🙂

I spent more than a week at the clinic recovering. I was beat up, but no matter what, my body exploded with excitement and happiness. I had no energy, but I wanted to love. I wagged my tail so hard the humans thought it would fall off and I smothered everyone with kisses even on my hardest, weakest days. And I was really grateful to finally rest peacefully, sleeping a lot.

The clinic reached out to Friends of DeKalb Animals to get me rescued. On October 19, I was finally released and one of the staff rescue coordinators instantly fell in love with me and became my foster mom, aka Mom1.

She took me home and introduced me to her dog, Fizzle. Mom1 nursed me back to health, helped me heal and I learned what it was to be truly loved.

My chicken wing leg didn’t have much bone or muscles. The rescue consulted various veterinarians and determined the deformation was a birth defect. The leg used to catch on my leash and cause me pain. The vets knew that it would be best if it was amputated.

In December 2012, the leg was surgically removed. To be honest, the loss of my chicken wing didn’t affect me; after all, I had been hopping along fine on my three legs. 🙂

Mom1 started a Facebook page where she updated fans on Chicken’s – that’s what she calls me – medical milestones. While fostering me, Mom1 discovered that I suffered from separation anxiety and I yearned for human and animal companionship. Mom1 spent a lot of time outside our home rescuing other dogs so she knew that keeping me wouldn’t be the best thing for me.

It was a very hard and emotional decision for Mom1 but she wanted the best for me so she decided to find me a forever home where I could have the attention and companionship that I crave.

In reality, I had some odds against me. One, being a black dog, and two, only having three legs. Then came Mom2.

Mom2 learned about me through another dog’s Facebook page. She and her husband weren’t planning on adopting a young dog, or a special needs one, but they knew their life styles could offer me the care I needed.

She wanted to take me because I had separation anxiety and they work from home, so they were a perfect fit. They talked about how difficult it would be to own a three-legged dog, but they knew I needed them and they can provide me the life I needed.

My forever parents were no strangers to the adoption process or opening their home to a shelter dog. Yet, they had no idea how much their lives were going to change with me.

You see, I am a social media celebrity, had a Facebook following that wanted to make sure I went to the right home. What’s more, my fans wanted to continue getting updates on my new life. 🙂

Mom2 was not an active Facebook person and she was just amazed at the connections they have made on my Facebook page. People even recognized our backyard from the pictures she posted and have come up to ask Mom2 if she has a dog named Zaxby.

She also learned something important after adopting me. She admitted she was shamefully ignorant about the homeless pet situation in Georgia. She had no idea of all the needs local shelters have and how difficult it is for these organizations to meet these needs with the little resources they have.

Dog overpopulation is a serious problem. In April alone, DeKalb County Animal Center euthanized 154 dogs. On average, Friends of DeKalb Animals helps adopt out 50 to 100 dogs a month, but there are so many other dogs that could be helped and saved.

My Facebook page has allowed Mom1 and Mom2 to reach people across the nation. Some of the fans are individuals who feared Pit Bulls. Seeing how gentle and loving I am and how my demeanor is nothing like the bad reputation Pit Bulls have, many fans have told Mom2 that their views on Pit Bulls have completely changed.

Mom2 vowed to keep my Facebook page alive if it helps other dogs and helps change the minds of the people about dogs. Especially Pit Bulls.

Mom1 and Mom2 have become great friends from their experience with me. They only live a few miles apart and Mom1 gets to see me every week. Mom1 has also helped Mom2 get more involved helping shelter animals. Since adopting me, Mom2 has fostered two other dogs as well as helps with animal transports and with overnight feedings.

As for me, I have flourished into a happy, playful, energetic dog. The scabs I had all over my body healed. I have found a best friend in Finn – Mom2’s other rescue dog – and every day I am showered with unconditional love from Mom1, Mom2 and my Facebook fans.

So that’s my story. I am Zaxby the Chicken Wing Dog and I am the HAPPIEST dog ever.

~ Zaxby

Parents: Katharine & Dan