The code compliance officer stopped at the home because someone had dumped an old mattress on county property. It was as she was examining the trash that she looked toward the back of the land only to see a large dog tied to a tree. A bag of dog food was on the ground nearby him, and a note was attached to his collar. The dog needed help, and the officer called in assistance right away.
“Someone had thrown out a mattress on county property, and the code compliance officer went to see if they could find out who had dumped the trash there,” said Job Greene, animal services supervisor at Prince George County Animal Shelter. “She looked at the back of the property, and there was Zeus tied to a tree with a bag of dog food.” The officer called animal control to the scene.
Animal control found the dog, Zeus, a Husky-Labrador mix, tied to the tree with a short leash. He was so happy to see the people around him. One of the officers took the note from Zeus' collar and read the sorrowful letter.
“My name is Zeus,” the note read. “I am a very good dog. My owner just can’t afford me anymore. She tried to find me a home, but nobody would take me.” The note continued to state that Zeus was wonderful with cats and kids, but was a little scared when meeting strange dogs. "Please find me a good home to go to," pleaded Zeus' former owner.
As sad as the former owner's circumstances were, Greene was not impressed by the way in which the individual tried to fix the situation. Zeus had been left out in cold weather for days with no access to food or water.
“If that code inspector hadn’t happened to be out in the woods, who knows how long he would have been out there — it’s a brown dog tied up in the woods 100 yards off the road, so who would have even seen him?” Greene said. “The letter was a lot of information about Zeus, and how he’s a great dog. You’ve gone that far, now get him to safety.”
Back at the shelter, Zeus proved to be as wonderful a dog as his former owner described. The shelter volunteers knew it was only a matter of time before the right person for Zeus walked in the door. That person turned out to be Katherine Elliott, a woman whose family had lost their thirteen-year-old dog the previous summer.
Elliott saw Zeus' story posted on Facebook, and she just knew that he as the right dog for her family. “We figured something would just wander onto our property, much like our cat did a few days after our dog died,” Elliott said. “We figured we would know when the time was right," and when she saw Zeus' picture, “I was like, ‘I have to go get him.’”
When she visited Zeus in the shelter, she knew that her hunch was correct. She returned with her children to see how everyone would get along, and they loved Zeus right away. So Elliott showed up a half hour before the shelter opened the next day to be sure she was the person who adopted this loving dog.
Zeus loves his new home! “He thinks he’s a lapdog, and he definitely has the run of the house,” Elliott said. “He has three dog beds and a couple spots on the couch that he has claimed as his own.”
The large, fenced in yard allows Zeus lots of room to run and roam. He gets along wonderfully with the kids and the family cat. “He’s a perfect match for our family,” Elliott said. “We all say, ‘He’s big and goofy, and loves to have fun, just like the rest of us, so he just fits in great.' It was meant to be.”
Zeus' story ended well, but many other abandoned animals suffer less favorable fates. Animal advocates and shelters ask owners to bring their pets in for surrender rather than abandon them to inclement weather, starvation, and illness. Share Zeus' important story with your friends and family on Facebook.