Smoothing out a rough start

Puppy trades a shaky start for a happy ending at the Sanctuary.
By Christelle L. Del Prete

Bojangles as a little puppyToday, Bojangles is a happy, carefree and loved puppy. But his life didn’t start out that way. His birth was such a difficult one that, by the time he was a week old, he’d lost his mother and all but one of his three siblings.

Luckily, Bojangles’ mother had been rescued by a Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network partner shortly before he was born, and her surviving puppies came to the Sanctuary. There, they would receive round-the-clock TLC, medical care and a chance at a happy ending. It was a good way to smooth out a pretty rough start.

Beginning to thrive

Within weeks, Bojangles and his sister recovered from the loss of their mother and began to thrive in a Best Friends foster home. But although Bojangles was in excellent hands, his troubles weren’t over yet. A birth defect had made his left eye useless and painful. He needed surgery to remove it so he could live a pain-free life.

Once the resilient little pup recovered from his surgery at the Best Friends Animal Clinic, he had no trouble learning how to navigate the world. Having one eye didn’t slow him down one bit, and at the Sanctuary — where differences are embraced — he had the opportunity to learn, play and grow just like any other puppy. In fact, he didn’t know he wasn’t exactly like all of the other puppies he met in Dogtown, and he certainly didn’t act different from them.

Ready to tackle life

Bojangles is ready for his mealPlayful and rambunctious, Bojangles loved to romp around in the soft grass and dig in the dirt in the Sanctuary’s puppy park. He was a star student in puppy preschool, a place where puppies meet and greet Dogtown volunteers and learn how to interact with people. With his caregivers’ help, Bojangles also learned how to do simple food puzzles by using his nose to push tennis balls out of muffin tin cups to reach hidden treats. Best of all, the clever pup quickly learned how to run through an agility tunnel like a pro.

Bojangles had overcome his shaky start. At three months old, he was healthy, strong and ready to tackle life. He had a winning personality, was very sweet with people and got along great with other puppies and adult dogs. What he still didn’t have, though, was a home of his own. His sister had already gone home and, one by one, his puppy pals were getting adopted while he stayed behind waiting for the right family to come along.

“Even more special”

Then one day, a family vacationing near Kanab stopped at the Sanctuary, since they had been talking about getting a dog. “I took this family over to meet the puppies,” says Best Friends adoption specialist Jessica Harrington, “and I told them Bojangles’ story. The family had two young boys, and I was so excited to hear one of them say that having one eye made Bojangles even more special to him.”

Bojangles won the family over right away. “I knew he would do that with anyone who spent a bit of extra time with him,” Jessica says. Soon, the family members were on their way home with the new addition. Even with all of the obstacles Bojangles faced in his first few months of life, the extra care and TLC he received at the Sanctuary helped him get the happy ending he deserved.

To help more animals like Bojangles go from homeless to home, support Best Friends.

Learn more about Dogtown at Best Friends.

Photos by Best Friends staff and Bojangles' foster mom Phyllis Meyer