If ever there was a portrait of sorrow, it was a dog standing in the cold driving rain in front of a North Carolina convenience store.
She seemed to have given up on everything. Even keeping dry. But some refused to give up on her. In fact, Valinda Cortez was still in her jammies and flip-flops that Sunday morning when she stopped at the store and discovered the soaked dog.
“As I got out of the car, my heart dropped,” Cortez tells The Dodo. “This poor infant had been out in the rain and cold for a long time. She was freezing.”
“It was evident to me that this infant had been dumped,” she continues.
Although afraid, the dog didn’t flinch when Cortez placed a blanket over her.
Nor did she move when the woman offered her hand.
So Cortez decided not to move either. She stayed in the parking lot with the shivering dog for more than an hour, gradually earning her trust.
“Her hair was wet and matted,” Cortez says. “Her front leg was cut. Her eyes were plainly diseased. My heart was breaking.
“I never think these things through so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with her when I had her.”
She eventually called her friend, Sue Massi, a woman who also volunteers to save local strays.
Massi got to the location in 20 minutes, where they met an animal control officer from Buncombe County.
Together, they gently persuaded the dog into a car and transported her to the shelter.
“Humans had let her down but maybe the food, warm blanket and love I gave her will restore her faith in humanity,” Cortez says.
Yet, in just a few days, it seems the dog, who was named Cassie, has already gotten her smile back. And, when cleaned up, she appears like a whole different dog.
“The photo of her is amazing. Such a change,” Cortez says. “My heart is glad.”
Soon, Cassie will be looking for a true home. Think that may be you? See Cassie’s shelter profile here.
“There are always possibilities,” Cortez explains. “What if I disregarded this cold, wet, starving dog and kept driving? She may have froze to death, been hit by a car or several other things. It’s not that hard to find a shelter that will take your animal.”