They say it takes a village to raise a dog, but in Annie McHound’s case, it took a village to save one.
Annie McHound was just under 3 years old when a family found her tucked away in the corner of their backyard one hot summer’s day. They didn’t know how long she’d been out there, but they could tell by how skinny she was that time was of the essence.
So they put the pup in a large Tupperware container and immediately reached out to Stray Rescue of St. Louis for help.
“She was in really bad shape when I got there,” Donna Lochmann, chief life saving officer at Stray Rescue of St. Louis, told The Dodo. “I really don’t think she would’ve lasted much longer.”
Luckily, the family called for help just in time. According to Lochmann, Annie McHound was emaciated and covered in more fleas than the experienced rescuer had seen in a long time.
Lochmann carefully loaded the puppy into her car and called the vet team at the shelter to give them a heads-up about Annie’s condition. That’s when Annie’s devoted village of lifesaving helpers started to form.
The team’s first plan of attack was to clean Annie thoroughly when she got there.
After her bath, the team quickly realized that Annie couldn’t stand up on her own. So they wrapped her up in a soft blanket and made her as comfortable as possible in one of the kennels.
They tried giving her fluids, but when she still wasn’t getting stronger, the team decided to send her to an emergency center to get a blood transfusion.
Annie’s village had already fallen in love with her within those first few hours of meeting her and couldn’t wait for her to come back. They were eager to continue nursing their new buddy back to health.
When Annie returned, the sick pup had to spend most of her time in an oxygen chamber to strengthen her lungs, which were severely damaged by anemia.
But her dedicated village of shelter staff was there with her every step of the way. When she wasn’t in her oxygen chamber, the team would take her outside and sit with her in the sun.
“We wanted her to enjoy some fresh air,” Lochmann said. “And she really loved spending time with us out there.”
Slowly, Annie started to get stronger and stronger. When her lungs were finally healthy enough to breathe without the help of an oxygen chamber, she was moved out of the clinic and into an area of the shelter where she could be with other animals.
“That’s when she finally started acting like a dog,” Lochmann said. “She started making friends with other dogs and absolutely loved playing with them.”