Pit Bull Rescues Blind Spaniel

February 10, 2011  

Cocker was freezing to death in a ditch

StubbyDog staff reporter

Video from KGW. Story from AP

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) – December 9, 2010: Alan Borland, a volunteer with the Humane Society of Redmond, couldn’t get Nala to quit pulling on her leash Monday morning. It was odd, Borland noted, as he’d never before had problems walking Nala, a pit bull mix.

“She looked very alert and kept looking off to the south,” said Borland, 55. “I tried calling her, but she just kept pulling towards the ditch.”

Giving in to her demands, Borland allowed the dog to lead him to a ditch about 200 yards from the humane society’s location on Hemlock Avenue. To Borland’s surprise, there was a small black and white ball of fur curled up at the bottom of the ditch.

“I thought he was dead at first,” Borland said of the collapsed and blind cocker spaniel in the snow. “He had ice balls on his feet, and he was really filthy-looking.”

Borland pulled Nala away and rushed inside to get help for the cocker spaniel, who appeared to be clinging to life. Once the cocker spaniel was brought inside, shelter staffers determined the dog had been a shelter resident that was adopted a month earlier.

“It was quite a surprise,” said shelter manager Chris Bauersfeld. “He was found 200 yards away from the shelter. Through all his wanderings, he must have heard the shelter dogs barking and recognized the place.”

The dog, named Chadwick, is 10. He lost his sight to old age and was adopted in November.

A week before he was discovered in the ditch, Chadwick escaped from his new owner’s property, two miles from the shelter.

Bauersfeld suspects that Chadwick lost his sense of smell and direction in the snowstorm and stumbled along the frozen streets of Redmond for close to a week. Somehow, the dog managed to survive long enough to be rescued by his former shelter mate.

“Five other dogs walked right past Chadwick that morning when they were out for their morning walk,” Bauersfeld said. “Only Nala alerted to Chadwick’s presence.”

Bauersfeld said Nala has been with the shelter since April. Though it’s unknown whether the two dogs had any contact during Chadwick’s shelter stay, it was possible Nala recognized Chadwick’s scent Monday morning during the walk; Bauersfeld believes Nala probably just smelled another dog in the area and followed her natural instinct to track it down.

Once Chadwick was treated for dehydration at the shelter, he was returned to his owner that afternoon, in good condition.

Chadwick’s owner, Tina Mazzariello, who could not be reached for comment, had been searching for him ever since he escaped, said Bauersfeld, who added that Mazzariello has a soft spot for shelter animals nobody wants to adopt.

Chadwick was one of several disabled animals the owner has adopted from the Humane Society, Bauersfeld said.

Bauersfeld hopes Chadwick’s rescue will help Nala’s chances of being adopted.

Because Nala is a pit bull mix with a few behavioral problems, such as jumping fences and not getting along with some dogs, the shelter has struggled to find a home for her.

“I hope that after this, somebody would step forward and adopt Nala,” Bauersfeld said. “She’s really a delightful dog.”

Chadwick is alive today, Borland said, because Nala wouldn’t stop pulling on the leash Monday morning.

“Nala was a hero that day,” Borland said. “I probably would’ve never seen Chadwick there if it wasn’t for her.”

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