Dog on brink of death fully recovers and reunites with his 11-year-old rescuer

When Shawn Henderson, David Hughes, and their 11-year-old son Tatum found a malnourished dog at the Kentucky Humane Society parking lot, they were afraid he wouldn’t make it.

The frail dog was found covered in urine and feces, and the outline of his every bone could be seen. He couldn’t walk because he had zero muscles after suffering from severe neglect and starvation.

A malnourished dog lying on a rug

When Ethan the dog was brought to the rescue on January 29, he weighed a mere 38 pounds, which is less than half of his ideal weight. He also couldn’t lift his head because he was too weak, but the mighty dog showed his incredible will to live.

Through the shelter’s staff hard work and Ethan’s fighting spirit, the rescue dog is now looking healthier and happier after reaching his target weight of 80 pounds in only a month!

Ethan—believed to be a Cane Corso mix—has regained his strength and can now walk unassisted. The dog also finally became healthy enough to get neutered. After his examination, vets said he is probably less than a year old.

Ethan with his rescuers

To celebrate this huge progress, the Kentucky Humane Society reunited Ethan with his rescuers, who haven’t stopped worrying about the dog ever since they brought him to the shelter. Tatum was especially concerned about the dog.

Tatum’s grandmother reached out to the staff and asked if Tatum can see Ethan again now that he’s healthy, and the immediately agreed. Although the family had been following Ethan’s progress on social media—where the Kentucky Humane Society regularly posts updates—they still wanted to see him in the flesh.

And when the sweet reunion came, they were in awe of how much better Ethan is looking!

Tatum’s 12th birthday is coming up, so the staff gave him a present from Ethan: a “Team Ethan” shirt and a card signed with the dog’s paw.

Ethan cuddling a stuffed toy

Jeff Callaway, Ethan’s foster parent, says the dog has remained sweet despite everything he went through. He loves to cuddle up with people he meets.

He is also doing really good with the sit and stay commands.

“At food time he’ll even stay in a ‘sit’ until I tell him it’s OK to go eat. Right now we are working on ‘down’ and walking without pulling on the leash. He really does pretty good on the leash but he does like to lead the way and pull a little bit. He’s super smart. He’s definitely more praise driven than food driven, he’s a good boy,” Jeff described him.

Now that Ethan has become sort of a local celebrity, Jeff hopes that his story will shed light on the many other dogs like him who are in need.

Ethan with his new family

“Unfortunately, his story is not the only one. There are other dogs that get dropped off, but hopefully Ethan’s popularity and his story can bring more awareness to the other animals here at the shelter and at other shelters that need help,” he said.

In a recent update, the Humane Society announced that Jeff and his family will be officially adopting Ethan on March 11!

It’s still unknown how Ethan ended up in the parking lot hours from death. Although the shelter had security cameras, the dog was dumped in a blind spot in the parking lot. Anyone who may have any information Ethan’s past should contact Louisville Metro Animal Services at 502-473-PETS.

If you want to donate to the care of animals in the Kentucky Humane Society, you may visit their Facebook page.

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