04/13/2013 02:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Abused Dog Keeps Running Away From Home and Finally Finds Help


Meet Emerson, an adorably sweet little Papillion/Pomeranian mix. You'd never guess the struggles this tiny guy has faced by looking at him now, but little Emerson is a fighter and a survivor. This is where Emerson's story begins.

Emerson escaped from his home several times and found himself in the shelter again, and again. The shelter thought he was a stray. He was malnourished. His fur was so matted that it was literally pulling the skin off of his flesh, and he only had a couple of teeth left in his mouth. His tongue hangs out of his mouth in a strange way to this day because he has no teeth left to hold it back. Each time he ran away, his owner picked him up, and even though Emerson was in horrible condition, there was nothing the shelter could do but release him back to their care. It was impossible for the shelter workers to be sure how long he had been on the streets, and whether his condition and the injury to his leg happened after he ran away from home, or while in the care of his masters. Without evidence it was impossible to press any charges, prosecute, or remove him from the home. Despite his horrible condition, what stood out most in those early days at the shelter were Emerson's eyes. His eyes were constantly downcast, sad, defeated. He shook uncontrollably from a combination of fear and unbelievable pain. To see him in this condition was absolutely heart wrenching. He needed help.

You can watch Emerson's amazing transformation in this video, but I warn you, it's graphic and shows his horrible condition and wounded front leg.

His days at the Los Angeles shelter were numbered. It was the holiday season and for a dog in his condition, the odds of adoption are already slim. Dogs who are ill or injured (treatable or untreatable) are usually put in a separate area that is not viewable to the general public, so the likelihood of these dogs ever finding homes is next to impossible. During the holiday season most people are focused on shopping, family and celebration; not rescuing traumatized, injured dogs in need of costly surgeries. Emerson's future looked bleak, hopeless and brief.


That's when Emersion met Annie Hart from the Bill Foundation. Emerson had no idea that his entire life was about to change, and that his life of suffering and misery would soon be over.


With a loving and gentle hand, Emerson was given a bath and a trim. The matting in his fur had literally degolved his right front leg; this means that his entire leg was exposed, rotting flesh with no skin or fur on it. It is impossible to image the pain that a wound like that would have inflicted.

Rescuers lovingly stroked Emerson's head and held him close, making sure he felt loved, supported and secure, and soon enough, his fearful shaking stopped.


Emerson would have to have surgery, and ended up losing his front leg...


It was after the operation to remove his necrotic leg that he began to physically heal, and mentally blossom. For the first time in a long time, that horrible pain wasn't holding him back and making him miserable. Emerson could do more than just sit around suffering, he could bloom. Emerson's true character and personality began to shine ... and what a personality it is!


Emerson is an affectionate dog with a protective instinct for those that he loves, both canine and human.

Emerson is now in a new home with his new mama, Michaela. Michaela, an undeniable animal lover, brought Emerson to her beautiful, five-acre, Zen-like home and retreat. For Michaela, the decision to adopt Emerson was easy, all she had to do was look into his sad little eyes and, "I just knew that was my dog."


Emerson is clearly a survivor, and now he's got a new family with lots of doggie brothers and sisters. Thanks to The Bill Foundation, he has something else too ... he's got a new leash on life.

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