Dog Tied Up In The Woods Was In So Much Pain He Couldn’t Be Touched
His new mom loved him before she met him — and now he’s so fluffy and cuddly.
Mowgli was in so much pain that he cried when Mysti Boehler touched him anywhere but one spot on the side of his face.
Boehler herself cried through Mowgli's first vet exam, while she and the veterinarian searched his young body for all the cuts, all the injuries, that were making him hurt so much.
As she stroked the place on his face that didn't cause him to yelp, Boehler promised this dog it would get better. That she'd give Mowgli a good life after this.
"He was just a pup and it was obvious by his condition no one ever cared," Boehler tells The Dodo.
In March, an elderly couple found Mowgli tied up in the woods. He couldn't walk and was emaciated, with swollen paws, cuts all over and terribly infected skin so raw Boehler describes it as "mush."
The couple who found him untied the dog and brought him home. They wanted to help, Boehler says, but didn't know how. For the week he was with them, Mowgli lay on a tattered couch cushion on a garbage-covered porch, amidst dozens of other animals. He was treated mainly with Benadryl.
Boehler, founder of the Texas nonprofit StreetsToSheets Animal Rescue, heard about Mowgli from someone who was concerned about the dog's condition. Knowing treatment would be hard and expensive, she still didn't hesitate to help.
On April 1, Boehler collected the dog — whom she named Mowgli, after the hero from "The Jungle Book" who survived in the jungle, like this dog had survived in the woods — and brought him to the vet for that first exam.
Afterward, when they went home to Boehler's house outside Dallas, Mowgli was shaking with fear. But Boehler felt sure Mowgli wanted to trust her, and she wanted to give him every reason to do it.
Over the next weeks, Boehler set to fulfilling her promise to Mowgli: that his life from now on would be good. She gave him medicated baths, antibiotics and pain meds, and lots and lots of good food to eat.
He got a comfortable bed of his own, and quickly seemed happiest when Boehler or another family member joined him there — or in a hammock.
"As soon as we got him home and laid with him and showed him our touch was out of love and we weren't going to hurt him, he actually opened up to us very quickly," Boehler says. "And all he wanted was attention."
In short time, he got a lot of that — from Boehler and her family, and from folks far away.
After sharing Mowgli's photos and videos on the StreetsToSheets Facebook page, Mowgli developed an enamored fan base who began sending him presents from all over.
Mowgli received blankets, toys, treats and even another new bed to make him feel special while he healed. Then came an impressive Easter basket filled with gourmet dog treats and a stuffed bunny from a fan in Pennsylvania named Christa Chilcote.
"There was just something about him," Chilcote says.
Chilcote thought she could be a long-distance admirer. She and her husband, their toddler and her stepdaughter live in central Pennsylvania. It's about 1,200 miles from Boehler's house. The family already has three dogs. She really wasn't looking to adopt.
But as Mowgli got stronger and healthier, Chilcote found herself falling more and more in love, until one day — "I said to my husband, 'I can't let him go anyplace else but here,'" she says. "I bawled to my husband."
Chilcote and Boehler had spoken about Mowgli many times already, before the possibility of adoption was broached. So when Chilcote did raise the topic, Boehler didn't take much convincing.
"I could tell in her voice and by the words she spoke that she loved Mowgli like I could only dream a person could love him," Boehler says.
So in early May, after just over a month with Boehler, a couple of volunteers loaded Mowgli into a car for his long trip home.
Today, nearly two months later, Chilcote is even more smitten with this dog. With his skin improved, he loves snuggling in bed and belly rubs. "He doesn't act like he's in any discomfort at all when anyone touches him," Chilcote says.
Mowgli is now joined at the hip with his canine sibling Ramsey and his human sister Jovie.
"When she wakes up in the morning, she says 'Momma, where's Mowgli?'" Chilcote says. "He's super, super gentle with her."
Mowgli's eating a special extra-healthy diet now, and having organic coconut oil regularly rubbed into his coat. His fur is growing in thick, and his smile is huge.
So is his new mom's. She says she'd rather have Mowgli than jewelry, or any other treasure.
"Paw prints left on my heart are so much more meaningful than diamonds on my finger," Chilcote says. "We're lucky."
The local shop where Chilcote first bought Mowgli his Easter basket held a special Mowgli Day celebration for him in May. He ate treats and was fawned over, and loved every moment.
"Tons of people came to that party just to meet him," Chilcote says. "He's doing great."
It is just what Boehler promised to Mowgli, on that first, tear-filled day.
"I wanted him to know what love was," she says. "That sounds so cliche but it's true."