In September 2011, nine puppies were abandoned in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) woods of Washington State. But their story didn't end there - a Good Samaritan was looking out for them.
During that same month, a Lakewood, WA Animal Control officer visited the home of Christopher Merrick, 27, after receiving an anonymous complaint. The officer checked on Merrick's dogs and Merrick allegedly told the officer he had taken his nine 6-month-old puppies to the Humane Society.
This, however, was untrue: The puppies were battling the elements in the woods.
Fortunately, the officer called the Humane Society, learning that a man had tried to drop off nine puppies for a friend. But when the Humane Society notified them that there would be a fee, they left - and took the puppies with them.
The officer soon heard that two puppies were found at JBLM. Over the course of several days, all nine puppies were found.
A veterinarian evaluated the puppies, diagnosing them with severe parasitic skin infections. The animals all exhibited raw, hairless skin - a result of being neglected. Brighter days were ahead for the abandoned animals, but the same could not be said for Merrick, who was accused of dumping the emaciated dogs.
According to investigators, the dogs' paws were swollen to twice their normal size. The animals' ribs were showing, some of their eyes were swollen shut, and others were bleeding from sores that covered their bodies.
Many victims of animal abuse never do find a loving family. While one of the puppies succumbed to the elements and to health issues, the other eight found loving homes.
Janis Cox-Johnson adopted one of these puppies in November of 2011.
"I got Loxy in November, 2011," Johnson explained.
"I have a golden retriever named Flora and I took her to meet the puppy. I wanted to see if they would get along. And they just loved each other!"
Loxy was still recuperating when Johnson adopted her.
"Her skin was all pink because of mites. Erik, my son, just held her, and she was shaking. But she's been wonderful."
While Loxy and her siblings endured a frightening ordeal, Johnson suspects that her early abandonment imbued a sense of self-reliance in the little dog.
"She's the best little dog, and she's very independent," Johnson stated.
"Flora is always wanting attention, but Loxy is very self-reliant."
While one puppy from Loxy's litter did pass away, Loxy has experienced no health issues. She has had no issues fitting in at her new home, either!
"The first night I got her, she jumped right into my bed and wouldn't get down," Johnson said with a laugh.
"She's never spent one night off of the bed."
After such inauspicious beginnings, Loxy now gets the best of everything.
"She has her own sweaters, and she's just the luckiest girl in the world," Johnson added lovingly.
And Loxy's previous owner? Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Merrick with Animal Cruelty. Merrick was arraigned on two counts of Animal Cruelty in the first degree. He was released on his own recognizance on February after he pleaded not guilty on February 6.
Merrick's next hearing is on February 21 and his trial is scheduled for April 22.
Loxy's trials and tribulations, however, are finally over.
"She's wonderful - she's adorable," Johnson said lovingly.
"She's smart. She knows how to get what she wants. She has a wonderful way of communicating with me."
Thank you, Janis Cox-Johnson, for giving Loxy the second chance that so many abandoned and neglected animals never receive. Surely, Loxy feels that you have a wonderful way of communicating with her, as well.
If you suspect animal abuse or animal cruelty, alerting the authorities can often mean the difference between life and death. Victims of animal abuse cannot speak for themselves - animals count on Good Samaritans to be their voice.
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