Just because he was found in Mexico and didn't have any hair does not mean that this dog is a Mexican Hairless. But exactly what he is was difficult to tell. When Karla Solis found him, he was terrified and crouching under a car in Tijuana. He was nearly completely bald and emaciated.
After trying several times without success, Karla finally managed to coax him out where she could get a good look at him. His skin was so bad he looked as if he had turned to stone. She knew she had to help him.
Karla loaded him up into her car and took him to a veterinarian, who determined he was about five years old. Who knows how long he'd been living in this condition? His skin was covered with demodectic mange and he was suffering from ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne disease that destroys the white blood cells. But what was even worse—he had a mass in his abdomen.
He weighed less than half of what his breed should and his pelvic bones protruded from his weak frame.
Karla knew she would need help to finance the dog's medical needs, so she contacted Becky Moder, a rescuer who finds neglected dogs in Mexico and transfers them to shelters in the US.
Becky decided to call him Elliot. He was shy, quiet and frightened, and only God knows what he had been through. Despite her fund-raising efforts, she couldn't raise enough money for the treatment he so desperately needed. But giving up wasn't an option, so Becky paid nearly half of his expenses from her own pocket.
Both his rescuers were ecstatic when he immediately began to respond to treatment. His healing had begun!
When Elliot had healed enough and had enough hair to start looking for a new home, Karla handed him off to Becky for the ride to San Diego in the United States.
Shortly after arriving at The Barking Lot rescue in El Cajon, California, Kim Forrest and her partner saw him and decided to take a second look. They were searching for an older, settled dog with a sweet temperament that would fit into their busy schedules. Was Elliot that dog?
“We got to meet him and walk him and he was such a gentle lead. I think that’s really what got us,” Kim Forrest enthused. “He was very calm-tempered, he didn’t bark and he was super-duper friendly ... He was a very happy dog.”
With his new family came a new name. Elliot would from then on be known as Asher.
Asher still had emotional issues and was content to sit in silence, as though afraid if he made any noise, his new family would abandon him.
Over the next two years, Asher's personality began to shine. He was still quiet, though. “When we first got him, we didn’t think he wanted to play at all. We had bought him all these toys, and if you took a squeaky toy and squeaked it at him, he would look at you like you’re crazy,” Forrest explained. “But as time went on, we realized that he really just likes my stuffed animals. He started to take my teddy bears, and now he loves to play with anything that doesn’t have a squeaker or sound. It’s his favorite thing.”
“When we first got him, he didn’t bark at all, and now that he’s warmed up to us, and barks when we get home because he’s so excited,” Forrest said. “But he’s still very calm, and he loves to be outside.”
Now the dog who once huddled miserably under a car out of the sun loves to lie on the porch and soak up some rays.
His daily trips to the dog park give him ample opportunity to chase the bunnies there. And everywhere they go, people ask about his beautiful, red fur. From a "Mexican hairless" to an "American chow," Asher is enjoying life after his very rough start.
“Everywhere we go, somebody wants to talk to us about him. It’s very fun to have that kind of attention for him, because he deserves it,” Forrest said. “He had such a rough time for the first five years of his life, so we’re just so happy for him. It makes me and my partner’s hearts very full. I could honestly not imagine having a better dog,” Forrest said. So what's in his future? Perhaps a kitty brother, according to his moms. But for now, he loves life as an only child.