The photo of Chocolate, an emaciated mother dog and her puppy Destiny, rescued from a backyard in Anderson, South Carolina as the bitter cold of a polar vortex descended upon upstate South Carolina is one that few people will forget. The story emerged on the Facebook page of Freedom Fences, an Anderson, SC-based group that builds fences to unchain tethered dogs.
The weather forecast was so grim that volunteers throughout the area were spreading out through the community to educate people about the dangers of leaving their pets outside in the bitter cold, and were offering assistance to ensure the safety of these pets.
Bonnie Metz, an Anderson-based groomer who is active in pet rescue, was among these volunteers checking on pets in the low-income areas of Anderson when she saw Chocolate and her puppies. Metz immediately recognized that Chocolate’s life was in serious danger. Given her emaciated condition, there was almost no chance that Chocolate could survive the perilously low temperatures.
The story of Chocolate’s rescue has been reported extensively. Metz emptied her wallet and managed to gain custody of Chocolate and the puppy in the worst condition. She immediately rushed Chocolate to Magnolia Veterinary Clinic, which offers after-hours emergency vet care in Anderson and the surrounding areas.
Metz contacted Freedom Fences for assistance, and support from not just the local area but from all across the nation poured in to cover Chocolate’s vet bill.
A month later, as another round of winter weather ambled through the upstate, leaving snow and ice in its path, it was time to check on Chocolate.
Chocolate today bears little resemblance to the Chocolate who was rescued by Metz.
Chocolate has gained fifteen pounds of weight. It is a testament to her resilient spirit how quickly she has learned to trust the people around her, although she still cowers at sudden moves, or if she sees a mop or broom. She is still very cautious around strangers, but is becoming less fearful as she learns that her new family will not allow any harm to come to her.
She has learned to walk on a leash, and has bonded tightly with Metz. So far Chocolate doesn’t understand toys, but she is very playful and even can be silly. Her muscle tone is improving and she can jump into the car now.
In just a month, with the support of the community and the love of Metz, Chocolate has morphed from an emaciated outdoor dog to an indoor lap dog who loves to jump on the couch and give kisses. Like a butterfly, she emerges from her cocoon a little more each day.