When the world tuned in to watch the primped and pampered elite pooches of the Westminster Dog Show, they might not have guessed one of the dogs had not only been severely abused, but was also found and rescued on Craigslist, ABC News reports.
“[He] was a rescue that was abused and neglected and in terrible shape,” Maverick’s owner, Dan Stallings, told ABC News.
According to the network, the Weimaraner's previous owner confined him to a crate for years. The conditions led to a nose infection, extreme malnutrition, and self-mutilation problems which led him to chew his own tail raw.
In a blog post for Life With Dogs, Stallings wrote that he heard about the previous owner's Craigslist ad from a friend. Soon after, Stallings bought Maverick off the man to get him out of the environment -- and probably save his life.
Stallings detailed the rehabilitation process in his post:
"I spent weeks trying to get him to eat normally by rebuilding his food drive. I was treating his nose, paws and tail daily for infection and just giving him some TLC, exercise and socializing him with the outside world. About 5 months later, in his second show out, he took the breed and he’s been on a roll ever since. He finished in four weekends and went on to earn his Grand Champion title soon after."
From a crate to the big leagues, Stallings watched anxiously as Maverick's trainer presented him to the judge at Westminster.
Even though four-year-old Malachy the Pekingese won the title, Stallings is still brimming with pride.
"I am so proud of him for all he has done, and what he has become right before my eyes," Stallings wrote. "I just love this dog to pieces."
For a look at some of the other Westminster contestants, click here.