Thousands of times, Gabi Gutierrez, co-founder and president of Angels for Animal Rescue, has walked the aisles of the Carson Shelter in Los Angeles, Calif., as a volunteer and to rescue homeless animals, whether that animal is a dog, cat, bunny or goat.
On February 27th, Gutierrez was volunteering at the shelter while waiting for another shelter dog, named Jack Jack, to be neutered. While there, Sgt. Ana Cervantes of the Carson Shelter approached Gutierrez and led her to a new arrival: an owner-surrender miniature pinscher puppy.
Working her way over to where new arrivals were held, lo and behold! There sat a seriously emaciated puppy with facial features akin to the lovable cartoon character, Bat Monkey, and limbs like the Looney Tunes character, Tasmanian Devil - although Walter moves at a much, much slower pace than the cartoon character.
It took no time for Gutierrez to decide that she would save Walter, who is estimated to be less than a year old. Gutierrez pulled Walter on a neuter waiver. Malnourished and at only 3.5 lbs., Walter was much too weak to undergo the sterilization procedure.
Gutierrez quickly noticed that Walter could barely walk. In addition to being malnourished and extremely weak, Walter's limbs are a bit deformed and his eyes have mineral or lipid deposits.
Gutierrez would later learn that Walter is a product of inbreeding. Vets suspect that Walter is suffering from a genetic disorder, called mucopolysaccharidosis. Whether or not Walter is afflicted with the disorder will soon be confirmed by the University of Pennsylvania, which is the only place that tests for the disease.
In the meantime, Walter is safe with Gutierrez. She feels it is in his best interests that he remain with her until his medical issues can be resolved.
Although Walter is still wobbly on his odd-looking limbs, he has since gained weight to 4.11 lbs. and is getting stronger every day. (See video)
Angels for Animal Rescue is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Gabi Gutierrez and Joanna Krupa. They currently have 14 senior, special needs dogs in foster. All have issues related to their advanced ages, which range from 12 to 15 years old.
In addition to saving numerous animals, all special needs and geriatric dogs adopted from Angels for Animal Rescue come with the promise that the rescue will remain financially responsible for all future vet care needs for the rest of their lives. The same rule will apply to Walter once his maladies have been resolved and he is ready to be fostered or adopted out to a wonderful, loving family.
For now, Gutierrez says that Walter is "a happy boy who loves meeting new people and other dogs." She further adds that he "goes out in the sun all day and comes in when he feels like it. He loves relaxing, playing and cuddling." (See slideshow) Gutierrez is also happy to report that Walter can now walk and run.
If you would like to donate to help this wonderful rescue continue to support their special needs rescues, as well as allow them to save more "Walters," click here.
You can follow Walter's progress on his facebook page, called All About Walter.
For more animal-related news from this author, click "Subscribe," above.