Abandoned and left to die.
No food. No water.
Just time passing, alone, as the body withers and life ebbs away.
Such a sentence of death angers anyone who cares about animals.
One man had a chance to save a dog with such a death sentence.
“The more I think about it, someone put this dog there … Which is why I am so mad about this,” said Zachary Anderegg in a social media post.
Anderegg, a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, expressed his anger at the time he was rescuing an abandoned dog during a hiking trip in Arizona.
Finding the dog was a chance discovery. The pup, frail from extensive weight loss, was alone at the bottom of a 350-foot canyon. Days with no water and food left him so close to death his teeth were blackened.
Anderegg couldn’t rescue the dog right away, so he left food and water with the pup. He came back the next day with equipment to get the dog to safety.
The Marine rushed the dog to a veterinary facility for care. Surprisingly, the dog survived.
Such a strong spirit in the dog inspired Anderegg who decided to adopt the pup. His new pal was named Riley.
“He has become a cherished member of our family … He is without doubt one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known,” posted Anderegg on Riley’s social media fan page.
Anderegg wrote a book about his experience finding Riley, aptly titled “Rescuing Riley, Saving Myself: A man and his dog’s struggle to find salvation.”
On his webpage, it states, “…in rescuing [Riley], Zak was also attempting to save himself, conquering the currents of cruelty that swelled beneath his early life and always threatened to drown him.”
Their experience turned into a sensation. Media outlets covered their story and they appeared on several daytime talk shows.
Anderegg also produced a mini-documentary featuring video of Riley’s rescue. Social media loved the story that attracted 5 million video views as it went viral with those who love dogs and inspirational stories.
As the documentary shows, Anderegg returned to the canyons with Riley where the once-abandoned pup explored the terrain without fear and as a survivor.
Watch the story here: