After Dustin Oliver got a tip about an abandoned dog, he arrived to find this: a pit bull curled up on a mattress, waiting for owners that weren’t coming back.
Oliver is the man behind Detroit Youth & Dog Rescue, a community organization that mentors young people and has been providing annual holiday meals to the homeless for three years. It also rescues a whole lot of dogs.
A neighbor told Oliver the dog’s family had left a month ago, but their belongings were put on the curb last week. They came back to pick up some items, but the dog — who Oliver named Boo — stayed behind.
Boo was standoffish at first, not letting Oliver get too close. So, not wanting to break his trust of humans, he took things slowly.
He ended up staying with Boo until 1 a.m. that night, just talking to him, trying to get closer.
“I think he was unsure of humans,” he said. “I think he was waiting for his family to come back and get him.”
He came back the next morning with breakfast — two sausage McMuffins and two hash browns.
Boo gobbled them up.
Finally, later that afternoon, Oliver managed to get a leash around Boo. They then sat for another 45 minutes, hanging out and chatting.
“We just had a conversation, me and Boo. I told him how this is going to go, how he’ll never be hurt again,” Oliver said.
Then it was off to the vet to get Boo a checkup.
While all this was going on, Boo’s story was going viral. Thousands of people had shared that first photo of him on the mattress, and already offers to adopt Boo were pouring in.
People also started sending in donations, which was good news for Boo, since it turns out he has stage-two heartworm.
Oliver said it’s not uncommon for the dogs he rescues to have health issues. Owners often abandon them because they can’t afford veterinary care.
And those hours and hours on that curb paid off. As soon as Boo heard Oliver’s voice he ran over for a hug.
“He’s had a great transformation,” said Oliver. “He is a traditional American pit bull terrier that it very trusting, loving, forgiving, and slightly coming out of his shell.”
“I’m just showing him the love, attention, and care I put into all my dogs,” he added.
Boo will live with a foster family while he’s being treated for heartworm. Once he’s better, Detroit Youth & Dog Rescue will find him a local forever home.
Oliver said Boo’s story has proven that “if you put your heart and soul into something, it’ll come back to you.”
Good boy, Boo.
You can follow Detroit Youth & Dog Rescue on Facebook for updates on Boo’s progress.