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Freddy The All American Bulldog

Freddy's fortunes have gone up and down in the last 4 years but this playful purebred isn't giving up.

One morning Freddy was taken to a pet sitter by his owners. By the end of that day he was homeless. His owners didn’t pick him up that night, or the next day, or the next. 

They eventually refused to come get him at all.

Through no fault of his own, the sweet natured and playful American bulldog suddenly joined the swollen ranks of pets without a place to call home.

Homeless animals have an uncertain future at best. Up to four million dogs and cats that could otherwise be beloved pets are euthanized in U.S. shelters annually. They are killed simply because they have no homes.

A total of 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebreds, like Freddy.

When he was taken in by LifeLine Animal Project, Freddy was a dog anxious and confused by his change in fortune. He immediately responded to and reciprocated the love and affection given him by the staff.

Still, he had trouble adjusting to life in an unfamiliar environment and the noise and daily activity of shelter life unsettled him. It’s not unusual for dogs that have previously been in homes to have trouble adjusting to living in a shelter, no matter how accommodating that shelter is.

American Bulldogs belong to the mastiff group and are confident and loyal dogs that bond strongly with their owners.

Being abandoned affected Freddy adversely.

He developed serious digestive issues and had trouble getting enough nutrition to keep weight on his large frame.

Debbie Setzer, LifeLine’s community outreach director, along with LifeLine's veterinarians, tried everything in their vast experience to try to  stabilize Freddy’s stomach issues. While he kept his friendly nature, he lost so much weight Setzer grew worried. She soon put out feelers to find him a foster home.

That’s when Catherine Olson, longtime LifeLine volunteer came into the picture. She had previously fostered many cats for the organization but stepped up when a temporary home was needed for Freddy.

Olson had recently been widowed when her husband died unexpectedly on a business trip. The difficulties involved in such a sudden and sad transition were cushioned slightly by caring for animals in need.

“Once I got back to taking care of critters, it helped,” she explained, “Animals can make a huge difference in your mood.”

Freddy flourished under Olson’s care. Happy to be in a home again, even temporarily, he settled down and finally gained weight.

“Give a skinny dog to a fat chick and she’ll put some weight on him,” Olson jokes.

Before long Freddy was back to his original athletic and powerful stature.

Olson found her new housemate to be loyal, brave and very playful. He would lie on her bed at night and even pull the covers over himself when he was ready to go to sleep.

“He’s very sweet boy,” says Olson, “He gets very attached to people and he wants to play with every dog he meets.”

Despite a natural exuberance and strong desire to explore, Freddy behaves well on a leash. He also responded nicely to obedience training with Frogs To Dogs.

“He’s perfectly house-trained and crate trained too,” says Olson

Freddy was well on the road to recovery and being adoption-ready when another roadblock was thrown in his path. This time the active dog was sidelined by torn ligaments in both back legs.

He now needs surgery on both knees.

Unfortunately, Freddie’s injuries are not uncommon in the muscular and stocky “bully” breeds.

Surgeries to fix torn ligaments in dogs are very effective but also costly.  Price Creek Animal Hospital, where the surgeries will be performed, routinely get dogs like Freddy back on their feet.

LifeLine is taking donations to help Freddy get the expert care he needs. At 4-years old, he will likely recover fairly quickly.

Olson has blocked off areas of her home so Freddy won’t use any stairs. She will sleep on the floor with him downstairs until his knees are fully healed. She says he’s taking all of this in stride.

“He’s a big goofy guy,” says Olson with genuine fondness in her voice, “I call him fuzzy butt.”

To inquire about helping or adopting Freddy, or any of the homeless pets at LifeLine, contact adoptions@atlantapets.org

melindaregner June 08, 2011 at 01:18 PM
How lovely story that was.. But It would be even lovelier if all the other dogs have a place they can call home. As for Freddy, He's lucky he has a natural behavior like that. I do believe all american bulldog have a natural good behavior such as affectionate, fun and loving and others so it's not new to know that they were the first ones being adopted by people.

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