Sunday, June 27 started like any other Sunday morning. Around 9 a.m. the couple decided to attend the early church service rather than their usual late morning service.
Driving down windy roads just northwest of Austin, the couple was coming down a hill when they spotted Angelo. Rocio slammed on the brakes when she saw a small animal in the middle of the road. As they got closer to Angelo, they could tell it was a dog — a severely injured dog.
With one look, it was painfully obvious that Angelo had been on his own for weeks. With ribs and backbone showing, his malnourishment was evident.
“The worst part was the massive wounds to his face,” Bart said. “I consider myself to be a bit of a tough guy. I have taught martial arts for over 30 years, but at that moment I could not stop the tears. My heart was torn out of my chest as I wondered who would leave a dog out here. Why? As I looked at Angelo’s massive injuries, all I saw was a sweet, loving, beautiful dog.”
Rocio rushed to get food, water, and blankets while Burt sat with Angelo, stroking his back and letting him know he was safe. “No more nights alone in the woods,” Bart said.
Once Rocio returned with supplies, Angelo attacked a bowl of water as if he was dying from thirst, but refused to eat anything. Rocio and Bart knew Angelo needed emergency medical care.
After arriving at a local animal hospital that did not take emergencies, Rocio and Bart drove around town desperate to find a vet that could care for Angelo.
At an emergency vet clinic, Rocio and Bart said that they would claim responsibility for the expenses of Angelo’s care. After examining Angelo for 30 minutes, a veterinarian came back and said that because Angelo was not their dog and his care would cost thousands, the clinic could not help.
“My heart sank,” said Bart. “We could tell [that the veterinarian’s] hands were tied.”
In the parking lot of the clinic, Bart asked someone for advice on where to take Angelo. The person led the couple to Austin Pets Alive!.
“She said that was the place she would go, even though she knew APA! doesn’t take dogs from the public,” said Bart.
Bart and Rocio pulled up to our Town Lake Animal Center location and met with a vet technician. She also shared that we do not take animals from the public and recommended Emancipet, but warned they have a 24 hour waiting period. Bart shared that he didn’t believe Angelo would make it another 24 hours without care.
This response prompted the technician to come and see Angelo. After spotting the wounds on his face, she hurried him inside the clinic.
“Up to this point, we were not sure where to turn. It had been such an emotional morning,” said Bart.
The technician came out and said that the veterinarians and APA! had agreed to save Angelo.
“We offered to pay what we could and [the technician] said, ‘You already have. You saved Angelo.,’” Bart said. “We both believe that we were put there for a reason that morning, and that reason was to be there to help save this beautiful creature.”
Thanks to our incredible P.A.S.S. (Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender) program, we’re able to take in emergency cases like Angelo and continue to act as the safety net for pets in need right here in Austin and across Texas. We’re happy to share that Angelo has received treatment and is in a loving foster home until he gets adopted.
Aleia and her son (who you may recognize from our episode of “That Animal Rescue Show”) are currently fostering Angelo.
“I was reached out to by the clinic and [they] asked if I would be willing to help out with him because he is a special needs case,” said Aleia. “We do a lot of hospice fostering and palliative care. It worked out well. He has assimilated into the home, no problem. He’s good with cats, good with dogs. He really just wants to be on his blanket sleeping most of the time, that works out really well. He’s just a sweet guy which makes it very easy.”
You can meet Angelo yourself here!
Austin never would have reached 10 years of No Kill without everyday heroes like Rocio and Burt. If Rocio and Burt hadn’t decided to attend the early service that Sunday morning, Angelo may have never gotten the chance to find a loving home. We need you to join Rocio and Burt to fight for No Kill to stay in Austin so pets like Angelo get the same chances as healthy pets by making a gift today.
With our No Kill future at risk more now than ever before, these stories remind us of why we do this work. Why we save the animals that have nowhere else to go.