Bear is a large sheepdog who spent 14 years chained to a spike outside in Fayette City, PA enduring all the elements of the harsh Winter and hot Summer, now has a new lease on life.
“I would imagine that in Bear’s lifetime, he’s had limited freedom,” said Liesa Collier, president of By the Grace of Dog, a local animal rescue group. “He’s had limited mobility, a small dog box for shelter and no place where he could run.”
Collier had been visiting the dog for the past few years through her efforts to provide straw for animals and food during the winters. On Father’s Day, Collier went to check the dog’s welfare when she learned that his owners had moved away a month earlier.
“They moved to a place where they could not have animals, so they left Bear chained up,” she said.
The 90-pound dog was being fed and watered by a neighbor, but was still chained without a collar.
“The day that I was there, his chain was twisted and kinked up so badly that it was literally 2 feet long,” Collier said. “He could not get to his dog box let alone his water bowl on the other side of his dog box. He was stuck.”
Bear now has the freedom to run and play in the grass for the first time in his life. Despite his miserable 14 years and losing most of his teeth, he is gentle and loving and anxiously takes small dog biscuits when offered to him.
“You know what? I think he’s happy now,” Collier said. “Now, he’s free to walk around this whole yard and do whatever he wants.”
Collier’s noticed not only that the dog’s water dish was filled with bugs and green water, but the temperature that day was well above 85 degrees, and Bear’s curly gray and white fur was matted and filthy from sleeping in the mud.
Collier decided to take action according to the letter of the law. She contacted the owners and the appropriate authorities in order to assume ownership of the dog.
“When the papers were signed, we went in the backyard with the bolt cutters, cut the chain off his neck and put him in the car,” she said. “I think when we got him initially, he felt relief — if that’s possible to say. He got right up in the car, laid down.”
Bear was taken to two different vets for medical treatment, where a tumor was removed from the dog’s left foot and he was treated for testicular cancer and arthritis. A large tumor on the dog’s elbow had ruptured at some point prior.
“He was in a lot of pain,” Collier said.
Donors contributed more than $3,000 to a fund needed to pay medical bills and expenses related to Bear’s care.
“Thanks to an amazing amount of support, we raised all this money for his care,” she said.
“I’ve been rescuing chained dogs for five years — I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said. “For these dogs on chains — it’s not a life, but a life sentence.”
Bear is up for adoption, but only to a home that will give him the dignity and joy he missed out on for most of his life. Dogs deserve better than a life on a chain.