Large Lab Found Abandoned with Blanket Gets New Home

When a call came in on April Fools’ Day about a big yellow Lab wandering around a Chicagoland area neighborhood it was no prank.

“Some lady had found this dog,” Susan Elliot, head of Waukegan Police Animal Control. “I said, ‘I’ll go grab this dog.’ I get over there and the lady is sitting outside with a ginormous dog. He probably weighs 100 pounds.”

As Elliot attempted to load the burly Lab into her car, the woman who found him called out to her.

“She was like, ‘Wait, wait, you have to take this, he was dragging this blanket with him,” Elliot said.

Credit: Therese Gonzalez

Elliot turned around and saw a blue blanket on the grass where he was sitting. Once she managed to get the dog in her car she grabbed his blanket, and off they went to the city shelter.

During her tenure as an animal control officer, Elliot has picked up and helped save hundreds of dogs, but this stunning boy and his blankie really tugged at her heartstrings.

“I think a lot of these dogs are attached to something comfortable. I don’t know what kind of life he had,” she said.

Elliot thought this beautiful dog must have an owner out there somewhere. She scanned for a microchip and nothing came up. So she started posting the approximately two-year-old dog online and on social media trying to locate someone.

When the Lab’s post hit Facebook people went wild. It was shared more than 7,000 times, but after more than 15 days no one claimed him.

Credit: Therese Gonzalez

While the post didn’t unlock any clues to his past, it certainly helped pave the way for his future.

When Megan Albright, president of Blackdog All Breed Dog Rescue, heard about this mystery dog and his blankie, she immediately took him into her rescue. “It’s just so sad. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,” Albright said. “It just breaks your heart. I think this dog was dumped. No one claimed him. He was filthy when he came in. I don’t think he ever had a bath.”

And the dog’s Facebook post also caught the eye of a family who lived nearby.

When Michael saw it, he immediately arranged to meet the Lab. He went on his own first before the rest of his family, kind of like a dog adoption scouting mission.

“He’s every bit as sweet as he looks in the pictures. He’s a gentle giant,” Michael said. “It was a great meeting. He was very interactive; he came in and immediately started licking me.”

Michael arranged to have the rest of his family meet the dog. They all fell in love and decided to adopt him.

“It’s one of those things that makes you feel good you’re able to help out and give him a better life,” Michael said.

His daughter named him Deku, after a fictional character she loves.

Credit: Therese Gonzalez

Both Elliot and Albright were overjoyed when they heard the news. “I’m so happy to facilitate an adoption to such great people, such nice people,” Albright said.

After Deku was vaccinated, microchipped, and neutered, Michael and his family picked him up to go home.

What happened to Deku’s blankie? It was a bit worn and tattered after all its travels. A woman from the shelter quilted him new ones to take home.

Michael said his family is so excited, and Deku is starting to shine. “He had a really successful move in. He started his patrol of the house and he is eye level with the counter,” he said. “It’s what we hoped would happen.”

 

AUTHOR

Mary Schwager, aka WatchdogMary is a TV and print journalist now watchdogging for animals. Honored to have won 14 Emmy, 7 Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards for investigative reporting & writing. She loves tips, send your story ideas to www.watchdogmary.com.

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