Stray and Abused Dog Transformed by Love


Dogs who are rescued never forget the humans who saved them. We are highlighting heartwarming stories of dogs saved from dire situations and then cherished as invaluable family members.

When Rufus first came into Leigha Marie Gonzales life a few years ago, he was badly beaten and neglected. But after receiving veterinary care and a lot of love, Leigha said he is now “the beautiful dog I always knew he could be”.

Leigha Marie shared Rufus’ story with DogHeirs:

In 2010, I met Rufus outside of a gas station. He was with a man who approached me and had asked if I could take this dog. At first I was a little nervous, but this man explained to me how he had seen this dog running around the neighborhood for about a year. Having always been an animal lover and a soft heart for abandoned and abused animals, I knew I couldn’t turn this dog away so I loaded him up in my truck and contacted my mom, who fortunately works for a vet.

Rufus when he was first rescued

Rufus when he was first rescued

I scheduled him for an appointment but since they were closed I had to take him back to my house for the time being. When my roommate first saw Rufus, she was shocked that I would bring this “ugly” dog home and did not want him in the house, so I put him in our small backyard.

When i went to check on him I was upset to see he wasn’t there! I ran to the front yard and there he was. My roommate and I tried so hard to get him and even ended up chasing him a little over a mile before we had to go back home.

I was so upset that he had ran off and I felt like I had some what failed him. To take my mind off of his loss I decided to go down the street to get some food. On my way home I received a phone call from my neighbor telling me there was a strange dog sitting under my bench on my front porch!

I raced home (going the speed limit of course) and was so surprised to see that Rufus came back! After that, we began his not-so-easy transformation with lots of vet visits and quality human time.

Rufus gradually grew to love his family

Rufus gradually grew to love his family

As you can see in his eyes, he began to trust me and my mom and took even more to our family dogs at my parent’s house. I’m so proud to say that even with his human trust issues he has no aggression. To this day, Rufus will not come to anyone but me and my mom. But he has his own silly ways of playing, like coming just close enough to touch him then running around our table about side, mouth open and tail wagging.

It’s such an amazing feeling to see him now in HIS backyard playing with the dogs and relaxing without a care in the world. I hope that with this people can see how much a little care and lots of love can change someone 🙂

Rufus after her rescue
~ Submitted by Leigha Marie Gonzales, July 18, 2013

Many DogHeirs members who read Rufus’ story couldn’t help but share their feelings. Said Rita, “You can see it in his eyes. Originally he looked so scared but at the end with your love and devotion, his eyes sparkle and are full of life and love. He looks beautiful.”

Said Darrin Henry , “Well done Leigha, your love was the breath of life to little Rufus. Rufus may have run away at first, but somehow he new where you were, was home. What a wonderful rescue and a beautiful dog.”

And SeniorLass wrote, “Rufus knew a good person when he saw you. Thank you for rescuing this baby.”

Did you rescue your dog? If you’d like to share your rescue story, email your photos and stories directly to us under the Subject “Rescue dogs are family” to team (at) dogheirs (dot)com.


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