Deaf Shelter Dog With Skin Condition Finally Meets Someone Who Believes In Him
"He was the most grateful, thankful dog you can imagine. He was like, 'Thank you, I don't want to be here.'"
You'd forgive Roman for shutting down almost as soon as he arrived at the shelter.
Not only was he disoriented by suddenly finding himself at the Carson Animal Shelter in Los Angeles, but he was hurting inside and out.
His coat was worn down to the skin, likely from lying on concrete for so long. And his skin was completely infected. From his ground-down teeth to his tattered ears, Roman struck a portrait of misery.
Adding to his sense of isolation was the fact that he was deaf.
But others took up his cry for help. Volunteers who saw this confused dog curled up at the shelter shared his picture online.
And Tye Friis, founder of Reversed Rescue, couldn't look away.
"He was in pitiful shape," Friis tells The Dodo. "You could tell he was exposed to sun for excruciating amounts of time. His skin was ridiculous."
"I was like, 'Yeah man, I can't let that dude stay there. I have to do everything to help him.'"
Friis rushed to the shelter and found a dog, though sad and confused, flashing his first spark of gratitude.
"When I went down, it was just an instant connection," Friis says. "He was the most grateful, thankful dog you can imagine. He was like, 'Thank you, I don't want to be here.'"
Luckily, Friis spoke Roman's language: He used signs and gestures to communicate with the dog.
"He just paid attention and was at my disposal to learn," Friis recalls.
But then there were those problems.
"We went through a list coming out the gate and he literally had everything wrong with him," Friis explains.
Roman had worms. His teeth were ground down. And that skin. A yeast infection had covered much of it, casting the dog in an aura of pure stink.
Over time, Roman's litany of aches and pains would fade.
"He still has the spots that will never ever grow back," Friis says.
And, as his connection with Friis grew, so too did his mighty heart.
"For a dog that had nobody around him, he advanced so fast," Friis says. "He is a dog that wants affection, that wants your love.
"He just wanted to love other animals too."
After four months in Friis' care - a time that saw him befriend a pack of new siblings, including a most accommodating cat - Roman was ready for a real home.
Diane and Rob Whitaker answered that call.
And the dog who had once shut down completely found himself awakened to a brand-new life.
But Roman would see his hero again. About five months after, his family drove him over for a visit.
"He just jumped out of the car," Friis says.
And then ... nothing but kisses.
Because there are some kindnesses that can never be forgotten.
If you would like to support Reversed Rescue in its mission to save dogs like Roman, consider making a donation.