9 min read

Scared Dog Gets Dragged Into Shelter By Owner Who's Abandoning Him

“It was like he was saying, ‘Please don’t take me in here.’”

Ann Flores couldn’t believe what she was seeing — a woman was dragging a very scared and unhappy dog into the Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas. The 3-year-old dog had flopped onto the hard cement in the parking lot, doing everything he could to resist.

“He laid on his back and just rolled over,” Flores told The Dodo. “It was like he was saying, ‘Please don’t take me in here.’”

Woman trying to drag dog into animal shelter
A woman trying to drag a black and white dog, named Truman, into an animal shelter | Ann Flores

Another woman, perhaps a friend or family member of the first woman, was dragging a second dog into the shelter.

“They were both pulling, but the dogs wouldn’t budge,” Flores said. “They had to pick them up because they just would not move. They would not walk in there.”

Woman trying to drag dog into animal shelter
Another woman trying to drag Truman's sister, Mandi, into the shelter | Ann Flores

Last Thursday, Flores and her friend were visiting the shelter because Flores’ friend was interested in adopting a dog. But Flores quickly became distracted by the two women dragging the dogs inside.

What infuriated Flores the most was that they were laughing.

“They didn’t care,” Flores said. “They were just laughing and giggling because the dogs wouldn’t move. To them, it was just like throwing trash away. There was no remorse, nothing.”

Dog on the floor of an animal shelter
Truman lying on the floor of the animal shelter lobby | Ann Flores

“I was really, really angry, and I could feel my blood pressure rise,” Flores added. “Why get an animal if you’re not going to keep it and do this to them? It’s not fair.”

Flores snapped a few photos and videos of the incident, and sent them to the Harris County Animal Volunteers, a group that works to rescue and rehome dogs and cats from the shelter. When the group posted a video of the two dogs, whom they named Truman and Mandi, people rallied to help.

Cypress Lucky Mutt Rescue immediately tagged both dogs for rescue, but foster homes needed to be lined up before the dogs could leave the shelter.

Sad looking dog lying in kennel at shelter
Truman lying on the floor of his kennel at the shelter | Harris County Animal Volunteers

Truman, the black and white dog who’d flopped on his back, was slated for euthanasia on Monday, four days after his arrival at the shelter. His sister, Mandi, was scheduled for Tuesday. Unfortunately, the shelter couldn’t hold them any longer than that because it was overcrowded. Thankfully, the rescue group quickly found foster carers for them.

Truman is still being cared for by Cypress Lucky Mutt Rescue, but it was actually Kellie Donoghue, director of Grace Mercy Love German Shepherd Rescue, who went to pick him up from the shelter on Monday. Instead of waiting for the shelter staff to bring him out, Donoghue accompanied the staff to Truman’s kennel.

Scared looking dog inside kennel at shelter
Truman inside his kennel at the shelter | Harris County Animal Volunteers

“First I heard him howling,” Donoghue told The Dodo. “We tried to get him to walk, but he just pancaked flat on the floor and wouldn’t move.”

Shelter workers ended up having to carry Truman out to Donoghue’s car.

“He was so terrified and he was peeing,” Donoghue said. “But he was wagging his tail the whole time, which tells me that this dog just needs love, but doesn’t understand that humans can provide love.”

Dog sleeping on backseat of car
Truman finally relaxed and fell asleep in Donoghue's car. | Kellie Donoghue

At that point, Donoghue hadn’t gotten the chance to do a temperament test on Truman, so she drove him to a friend’s house to see how he’d react to her children, cats and other dogs. During the drive there, something amazing happened.

“The whole time in the car, he just wanted to be near me,” Donoghue said. “He was starting to warm up to me a bit in a 25-minute car ride, which you don’t often see. Sometimes it takes a really long time for dogs to open up to humans.”

Smiling dog on pink leash
Kellie Donoghue

Truman passed his temperament test with flying colors, and he became increasingly relaxed in Donoghue’s presence. When they drove to meet Truman’s new foster mom, Truman fell asleep in the backseat of Donoghue’s car.

“In just an hour, we saw a fantastic transformation of a dog who wouldn’t even walk and being flat on the ground and shaking, to feeling safe enough to sleep in the car and get close to me,” Donoghue said. “He’s going to be just a fantastic dog to live with.”

Truman is now living with his foster mom Christina Caballero and her other dog and three cats. It’s Caballero’s first time fostering a dog, and she’s loving the experience — and Truman has thrived with her.

“He’s always wagging his tail,” Caballero told The Dodo. “He’s very happy.”

But Truman still has challenges ahead of him — he turned out to be heartworm positive, and he has to go through treatment before he can be officially adopted. He’s also struggling to learn to be indoors.

Rescue dog lying out in the grass
Truman lying out in the grass | Christina Caballero

“I guess he was never allowed inside and he was mainly an outdoor dog,” Caballero said. “If I want him to come in, I have to offer him a treat every time. I have to make him feel like it’s OK to come in.”

Mandi left the shelter the day after her brother, and she’s now living with her foster mom, Jackie Duncan. Sadly, Mandi’s also heartworm positive, and she’s had other health issues to deal with as well.

Sad looking dog inside car
Mandi on her freedom ride from the shelter | Jackie Duncan

“Her eyes were completely swollen and her right eye was almost shut,” Duncan told The Dodo. “She is missing fur all over her body. She has mange … and she was so timid and scared.”

Rescue dog with her head on person's lap
Mandi resting her head on Duncan's lap | Jackie Duncan

Like Truman, she wasn’t sure how to behave inside a house. But with lots of love and attention from Duncan, Mandi’s slowly emerging from her shell. “She has a ton of love in her,” Duncan said.

If you’re looking to adopt a dog or cat in the Houston area, follow the Harris County Animal Volunteers Facebook page.

Thinking about adopting? Then meet Dodo Adoptbot, an interactive guide for new pet parents. Get started on Facebook Messenger or text HOME to 38349.