Turtle the dog hasn’t had an easy life out on the rough streets of Mexico. Spending the day scouring for just enough food to survive and going to sleep knowing you have to start all over the next morning has been daunting on the pooch and his health but thankfully, his life has just taken a dramatic change for the best.
Now part of the Midcap household, Turtle has a lifetime of love, belly rubs, playtime and most importantly, peace, safety and stability ahead of him.
NBC 7 meteorologist Dagmar Midcap saw a picture of the once severely emaciated dog and knew instantly she needed to give him a home.
“He deserved another chance because he fought so hard and went through so much,” she said.
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It’s a photograph that’s hard to forget. The pooch, who is now known as Turtle, is mostly bones with little fur just barely clinging onto them in the photo. You can see the dog’s front right paw is swollen and his head bowed in search of something just edible enough for him to live the next day.
His health was ailing when rescuers were finally able to catch Turtle after about three days of chasing him on the streets in hopes of getting him recovered. With enough tenacity, they were finally able to capture the dog and take him to an area vet, who diagnosed him with a bone infection, mange and said he was incredibly malnourished.
It took a while before Turtle could join the Midcap family since he was in veterinarian care for more than a month after his capture. His health needed to improve before he could make the trek to the U.S. but with tender care and nourishment, he was able to reach that goal.
“Turtle is eating everything I give him,” Midcap said with joy. “He’s much better now, he’s gained a lot of weight, his fur is coming in.”
As he adjusts to his new home, Turtle is slowly beginning to show little bits of his personality. When he first arrived to his forever home on Wednesday, he was reserved and shy. In the first 24 hours since his arrival, the pooch has shown Midcap that he loves the company of dogs but is afraid of people.
It takes a while for some dogs to trust humans, but Midcap is patient, respectful and understands Turtle needs to go at his own pace to reach comfort so the two can build a strong bond together. However, there have already been little victories that positively preview what’s to come.
“He’s definitely still afraid of people but within two hours, I brought him his third or fourth bowl of food and he wagged his little tail,” Midcap said. She added that she was able to stand a few feet away from her new pup with him still being comfortable.
To Midcap, who has six dogs, five birds, two turtles, fish, tadpoles, a turkey, a rooster and a chicken, it is crucial that her fur, feathery and scaly babies come from shelters or are rescues. She shared that four of her dogs were strays that were rescued off the streets of Mexico and despite their health problems, she wanted to adopt the pups to give them the lives they deserve.
“It’s important for me to take these guys in because no one else will give them a chance,” she said. “People overlook how beautiful they are because their exterior is marred outside.”
“They have so much life experience and are often more grateful because they’ve been through so much,” she said about rescue animals. “They’re so grateful for the peace they receive in your home.”
Midcap encourages prospective pet parents to get in touch with adoption and foster specialists for a successful adoption. She also adds that those who want a new addition to their household should check out their local rescue organizations and shelters.
“Give the rescues a chance. They’re special, they really are,” she said. “They’ve been through so much in life. Many of them will give back so much more than they ever receive from you.”
NBC is currently in the middle of Clear The Shelters 2021, a nationwide pet adoption drive with a mission to find as many forever homes as possible for shelter pets in need. To find a pet you can rescue from a San Diego-area shelter, check out NBC 7's Clear The Shelters 2021 Adoption Guide.