Washington Post features emaciated dog treated at BluePearl hospital in Atlanta

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Dog starved to ‘brink of death’ rescued in Atlanta

When authorities found a 2-year-old Boxer, he was tied outside a church, each of his ribs poking out from his side, his spine protruding from his back. He was starving and “seemingly on the brink of death,” a rescue worker said.

Animal rescue workers said the dog, which they named Odysseus, weighed just 26 pounds when he was found Sunday in northern Atlanta. He should have weighed between 55 and 65 pounds, according to veterinarians.

“He is an absolute skeleton,” Angels Among Us Pet Rescue wrote online.

“Ody could barely walk because there is no muscle or fat on this dog,” Angels Among Us spokeswoman Anne Clarke told The Washington Post.

Authorities responding to a call about the dog transported him to Fulton County Animal Services, which enlisted Angels Among Us Pet Rescue to care for the dog and help him find a forever home. Odysseus is now recovering at Blue Pearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Sandy Springs.

He is expected to be released to his foster home Tuesday afternoon.

It’s still unclear where the dog came from, how he got to the church and who left him there. It’s also unclear whether police are investigating. Animal Services Director Lara Hudson said there were no leads and no witnesses.

When veterinarians first examined the dog, they said his body score ranked a 1 out of 10, meaning he had no body fat and had lost muscle mass. He tested negative for heartworms and other diseases.

Animal rescue workers said refeeding syndrome is their most immediate concern. Because Odysseus is so severely emaciated, feeding him too much too quickly could send his organs into shock, Kimberly DeMeza, marketing director at Blue Pearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists, told The Post.

A nutritionist at the clinic has put the pooch on a gradual feeding program, starting him Monday at 20 percent of a normal food intake and increasing it Tuesday to 40 percent, DeMeza said. She said he is holding down the food.
“This is just probably one of the worst cases that I’ve seen in years of starvation basically,” Angels Among Us Pet Rescue founding member and volunteer Karin Wallace told Fox affiliate WAGA. “I can’t imagine when the dog’s last meal was.”

“If feeding goes well, we’re hoping for a full recovery,” she told The Post.

The rescue group is asking for donations to help with the dog’s recovery.