March 06, 2013 - A coal mine is no place for a dog to call home, but sadly, that's where Camo was living before the volunteers at the K-9 Stray Rescue League in Oxford took him in a few weeks ago.
Life at the kennel is stressful for Camo, a mix of Catahoula Leopard Dog and pit bull. The K-9 Stray Rescue League is looking for someone to adopt him.
Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Camo, a brindle-colored mix of Catahoula Leopard Dog and pit bull, was found at a coal mining site in West Virginia.
"Somebody dumped him there," said Lori Stevenson, president of the K-9 Stray Rescue League and medical coordinator for the group. "This mine tends to be a dumping ground for dogs. When people can't take care of them anymore or they get evicted (from their homes) or they don't want to deal with them anymore, they dump them. It's sad."
Camo had been wandering around the mining area for about a month prior to the Oxford rescue group's involvement.
"The coal miners would feed him little pieces of their lunch," Stevenson said.
After being contacted about Camo by a rescue group in Ohio, the K-9 Stray Rescue League decided to help.
"Thin and very scared" is how Stevenson described the dog. She estimated Camo is about two years old.
"He's very fearful," she said. "It appears that someone had probably been abusive (toward him)."
Physically, Camo was suffering from some sort of skin infection.
"His skin was in real bad condition," Stevenson said. "He had sores all over him. He had scabs everywhere. It's definitely a skin infection from neglect. It's common to get bacterial infections through neglect."
Fortunately, thanks to the care he's receiving at the K-9 Stray Rescue League's kennel (2120 Metamora Rd.), Camo's skin is clearing up and looking much better.
Camo is safe, well-fed and getting all the attention he requires, but what he really needs is a loving place to call home.
"He's very timid and very frightened in the kennel environment," Stevenson explained. "Coming to a kennel is hard on a dog that's never been in one. It's a hard environment (for a dog), no matter how nice (the volunteers) are and how much attention they get. It's rough. Their adrenaline's pumping 24 hours a day. They never get to relax totally."
"(Camo) had been fending for himself and had never seen a kennel," she continued. "We're used to (housing) dogs that have already been through animal control and they've adjusted to being in a kennel environment."
While in the kennel, Stevenson said Camo's "tail is tucked between his legs and his head hangs really low."
"There's nothing aggressive about him," she noted. "He's not a fear-biter. But he is literally terrified by all the action in the kennel environment."
That all changes when he leaves the kennel.
"He comes alive," Stevenson said. "One of our volunteers took him for a ride the other day and he came to life in her car. He was leaning over the seat, kissing her. The minute they started down the road, he was all over her. His tail was up, his ears were up, his head was high. He was a totally different dog."
"He's just the sweetest dog," she added. "There's not a mean bone in his body."
Although Camo's temperament must still be fully evaluated, Stevenson believes it's probably best if he was adopted into a home where there are older children.
"To be honest, when they're that fearful, we tend to go with children over 8 (years old)," Stevenson said. "We don't want to take a chance."
Adopting a dog from the K-9 Stray Rescue League costs $200. That fee is designed to help offset the group's costs.
Before they can be adopted, all dogs are neutered or spayed, updated on their shots, and tested and treated for heartworm.
For more information about the K-9 Stray Rescue League, visit www.dogsaver.org/k9srl or call (248) 628-0435.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.