These days, Beefcakes loves car rides and following his family around the house. But his story wasn’t always so happy.
In 2015, Beefcakes, a 60-pound Bulldog mix, was found wandering around a parking lot, bleeding, in Boulder County, Colorado. A concerned citizen called police, who took him in for treatment. Beefcakes had been shot at close range and still had a bullet in his fractured jaw as well as several broken teeth.
The Longmont Humane Society (LHS) stepped in to assist with this case, but it wasn’t easy because Beefcakes needed a lot of medical help.
“We don’t have a lot of cases like this come in, thankfully,” says Rhea Moriarity, director of training and behavior at LHS. “He was obviously in a significant about of pain with a shattered jaw and the bullet still in there, but he was wagging his tail and looking for affection from people.”
In addition to the damage caused by the bullet, veterinarians discovered a heart murmur that needed treatment. In all, Beefcakes needed seven surgeries. Luckily, his story resonated with people in Boulder County and across the country. LHS set up a crowdfunding campaign to fund his medical expenses and raised $21,000 for his medical care, treatment and training.
“He was so lovely that we really felt that we wanted to stand by him, so that’s why we decided to do the crowd-funding and put all the time and effort into seeing if we could make him whole again,” Moriarity said. “It was totally worth it. The family that adopted him adores him.”
Staying in the shelter was hard on Beefcakes because he was agitated by the other dogs, Moriarity says, so instead, Beefcakes spent a lot of time in her office and they formed a bond.
“He was just a wonderful, lovely dog to come into in the morning and get to see his big, smiley face and have him give me lots of very, very slobbery kisses,” she says. “I’m really glad we had the community support to put all the resources into him.”
Beefcakes was adopted in March 2016 and has been thriving in his new home ever since. And, nearly a year after he was found, Beefcakes’ former owner was found guilty of animal cruelty (it was alleged that Beefcakes was shot because he injured a Chihuahua that lived in the same home).
Known as Beefy now, he won his family (who chose to remain anonymous due to the press surrounding his story) over in their first meeting at the shelter. With four kids ages four to 16 years old and no other pets, they felt like they could give Beefcakes all the love he needs.
“[His owner] is a stay-at-home mom so she was pretty happy to have a companion to hang out with her and the kids,” Moriarity says.
LHS continues to offer Beefy’s family support and training help if needed. They also completed training with him while he was in the shelter and LHS foster homes.
“We were trying to make him less worried about other dogs,” Moriarity says. “We did a lot of obedience work with him, a lot of attention-to-handler type exercises, teaching him to sit, to heel, teaching him to down.”
After spending so much time and energy on a dog, it’s easy to see how the staff at LHS could get attached, but Moriarity says that, with each dog adopted, a new one can find shelter.
“I know that we’re providing a good service to these dogs,” she says. “We care for them temporarily so they can find their permanent family and home.” Just like Beefy.
Elizabeth Xu is an Ohio-based freelance writer focusing on pets and travel.