Dog Who Spent Years Living Under Porches Is About To Meet His Best Friend
He earned his name, Lion King, because his fur had become so matted that he looked like a lion.
King was a well-known stray who spent years lingering around a neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. The chow chow, estimated to be 5, survived off the scraps fed to him by sympathetic locals. He found shelter under the porches of abandoned houses.
"Neighbors said they had seen him around in north Omaha for about three years," Lori Hook, a staffer at Hearts United for Animals (HUA), told The Dodo. Although King needed a home, most rescues avoided the neighborhood due to high levels of crime and gang activity, Hook said.
But when HUA heard about King's plight, the organization decided to take its best shot at saving him from another day alone. The organization worked with people in King's neighborhood for three weeks last December to help him - but it wasn't easy.
"We set a trap to capture him, but he was too street-smart for the trap," Hook said.
Although King was wary around adults, he found comfort in being near other dogs - and children.
"[He was known for] following kids to their bus stop every morning, every day," Hook said.
"I think that's when they dumped the green paint on him, and even though they did that to him, he still loved him. [King] still followed them to their bus stop."
"Finally, when it started to freeze out for a couple weeks in a row and he couldn't eat his food anymore because it was frozen solid, he was lured onto an enclosed porch where a lady had been feeding him," Hook added. "He kind of kept hanging around that same house, to be near her husky mix."
The first order of business after King's rescue was shaving off his fur.
"He had to be shaved down to the skin," Hook said. "It was just like cement, trying to get through his fur because he'd never been combed and then he had all that paint stuck in there. It was just disgusting."
Despite having been on his own for so long, King was surprisingly healthy aside from the matted fur, broken teeth and worms.
With time, he learned basic commands and how to walk on a leash.
"He's still here with [HUA] now, learning how to trust people," Hook said. "He still reverts to being a bit skittish." Hook said King is up for adoption and is waiting for a forever family that will understand his needs as a dog who, more than likely, was abused before he was rescued.
In the meanwhile, King is enjoying life at HUA with his new best friend, a cute beagle named Queenie. She's definitely a love interest worthy of royalty.
King rooms with Queenie at HUA and is quite the protective gentleman over his sweetheart, Hook said.
While King in general is a rather stoic dog who doesn't exhibit many reactions, his love for Queenie is undeniable - and so is his unfaltering love of children.
Recently, King paid a visit to a local elementary school as an ambassador for HUA, which educates children about puppy mills, animal shelters and pet care. It was a major milestone for King, and he was on his best behavior, even giving a few tail wags when petted.
King can now hold his head up high with the knowledge that he'll never have to spend another cold winter outdoors, or another day all on his own - he's finally safe from harm.