Starving Old Dog ‘Completely Defeated’ When He Is First Rescued But His Wagging Tail Told A Different Story

With just 22.5 pounds on his old skeletal, Holden the dog arrived at the overcrowded shelter. The little dog had been seized by police during a drug raid. This turned out to be a life-saving turn of events, but when he arrived at the shelter they had no space and given his condition he would not do well there either. That was apparent to the shelter, who put out a plea for help.

They shared:

“Holden was a last minute intake today. He was seized during a drug raid. As you can see, he has not been well cared for.”

“He is 25 lbs and should at least be 40…”

“He was so hungry, he was trying to get cat food out of the cat kennels during intake so he’s been fed and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Releash Atlanta

“The shelter has NO space. He cannot go in an outside run like this. He’s staying the night on a big comfy blanket in the intake area but he cant’s stay here.”

“He totally ignored the cats in the office. He’s very calm, quiet and well mannered. He just sits and looks at you, with his head hung low. He’s completely defeated.”

Releash Atlanta

But they were determined to find a rescue for him. That’s when Releash Atlanta stepped forward to rescue the 10-year-old Labrador mix.

They too were determined to save him, but the news at the veterinarian was far from promising. Scans showed he had a seven pound tumor attached to his spleen and “musing vital organs out of its way causing basic life functions like eating and breathing to become difficult for him…”

The surgery would be risky and Holden would have to muster what remaining strength he had to survive. Thankfully, “the same fight that helped him survive has helped him make it through the night,” Releash Atlanta wrote.

His surgery was successful and he woke up. His head was “still hung low” but his tail wagged and wagged.

Releash Atlanta

The good news kept coming. They found a foster, Melissa Lentz – a very experienced rescuer – took Holden home while he convalesced after his surgery. He was still tired and scared and hunched over on his car ride over to her home.

Releash Atlanta

But very soon after, his rescuers learned that the huge tumor was benign! The best of news.

There were some tiny hiccups as he rested in his new temporary home – Melissa only had a “bunch of little dog beds” for Holden to sleep on, but thanks to some generous friends of the rescue, he quickly had a bigger bed to lie in.

But Holden had lost none of his appetite. In a few short weeks he gained two pounds. He still needs some medical care but his blood results are positive and he is loving all the attention he’s getting. “He may be old…but someone is going to be VERY  lucky to have this dog,” Melissa wrote Facebook. With all the TLC he’s receiving he’ll be ready for adoption soon. To keep tabs on his availability and to apply to adopt him, visit Releash Atlanta’s website.

Releash Atlanta

As she does with many of her foster dogs, Lentz keeps her friends, family and fellow dog lovers updated on Facebook. An update from last week showed a video of Holden learning to shake hands. “He may be old and he may or may not have cancer (biopsy not back yet),” Lentz wrote, “but someone is going to be VERY lucky to have this dog.”


He had a massive tumor that put his life in the balance. But his rescuers took a chance on him and it was all worth it because Holden, the “old yard dog,” found a forever home. He no longer curls up on hard ground, he’s got a soft dog bed and a family who loves him dearly!

Congrats, Holden!

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