When Los Angeles-based charity Road Dogs & Rescue took bulldog Quarrie in, there were immediate concerns for his future. His small size and health issues meant that there were serious doubts about his survival. However, when he opened his mouth and barked, the sound told simply warmed his carers’ hearts.
When you think of bulldogs, a certain image likely comes to mind. They’re known as big and powerful canines with trademark grumpy faces and wide, heavy bodies. However, just like humans, even strong dogs are vulnerable to genetic disorders and health problems.
For example, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals performed a study of bulldogs across 30 years. The results showed that nearly 75 percent of them tested positive for hip dysplasia. Indeed, health issues for the dogs are such a concern that the U.K. Kennel Club added new breeding regulations in January 2009.
There are also organizations across the pond in America joining the fight to help bulldogs with special needs. One of those groups is Los Angeles-based non-profit charity Road Dogs & Rescue. It explains its admirable goal to provide a better quality of life for suffering pooches on its Facebook page.
“Road Dogs & Rescue is on a mission to transform the lives of bulldogs and special needs pups in LA and spread happiness and healing,” it writes on its Facebook page. And one of the animals that it took on was little Quarrie.
Road Dogs & Rescue founder Nikki Carvey described Quarrie in an interview with The Dodo in October 2018. “He’s supposed to be an English bulldog, but he was not the right size,” she said.
“When Quarrie first came to us, he was about the size of a can of Coke,” Carvey continued. “He was pretty malnourished, very runtish. It was really like, ‘Oh my God, this guy is so tiny, is he actually even going to live?’”
But despite being sickly and tiny, Quarrie had a will to live several times his size. “Anyone who knows [him] knows what a huge spirit he’s got,” Carvey told The Dodo. Indeed, the plucky pup’s desire for life was matched only by the huge size of his personality.
Despite his small stature, Quarrie is scared of no one. While Road Dog & Rescue provided for its tiny newcomer, the charity came to realize he had no problem speaking his mind, either. And for such a little fellow, he had a large voice he used to express himself.
Carvey first noticed that as Quarrie’s diet improved, he began to vocalize a lot more. Or, as she told The Dodo, “He’s very talkative.” Furthermore, she noticed that the pup’s barking got more frequent when he found something disagreeable. And Quarrie’s a dog who knows what he wants.
Carvey continued, “He likes to complain whenever we do anything that he’s not 100 percent a fan of. The main thing he gets sassy about is food. If he’s not getting his breakfast on time, you’ll hear about it.”
But even as Quarrie’s health improved, he still suffered from one pronounced issue in particular. He still wasn’t walking properly. His legs didn’t seem to be growing as they should, which reflected in the pup’s movement.
“He kind of waddled along with [his legs] all splayed out,” Carvey told The Dodo. As such, she feared the problem might be permanent. “We thought he might be paralyzed,” she elaborated. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, but Quarrie still had a battle ahead of him.
That’s because the problem lay in little Quarrie’s leg muscles, which didn’t work properly. “It’s almost like the muscle doesn’t even know it can bend,” Carvey added. “I hated seeing him struggle, not being able to [walk] properly.”
As a result, the charity used tape in an attempt to recondition Quarrie’s legs as part of his rehabilitation. Of course, the outspoken pup disagreed with that. According to Carvey, he wasn’t shy about expressing his distaste.
“[Quarrie] wasn’t big on the leg taping, so he always had something to say,” Carvey told The Dodo. However, despite his complaints, he soon saw improvement. And it wasn’t long before he was able to use his legs a lot better.
Carvey added, “[Quarrie] was motoring within a few days. He would be up and off, exploring.” Road Dog & Rescue followed up Quarrie’s rehab with some hydrotherapy, which further improved his muscle condition. And as the pup’s recovery progressed, he became even more of a character.
Carvey told The Dodo, “I would describe Quarrie as a male diva. It’s all about what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.” That includes play-fighting with his rescuer’s other dogs who are several times his size. Thanks to the love and care Carvey’s charity provided Quarrie with, he went from strength to strength.
In fact, after Quarrie’s rehab his walk is now almost like any other dog’s. There was also more good news for the plucky pooch: he found a permanent home. Quarrie is now living with his adopted family in New Jersey, and Carvey couldn’t be happier for him.
“So many of these special needs puppies that we get, they’re written off,” Carvey concluded to The Dodo. “But their personalities are so huge, it’s almost like they have a bigger will to live. That’s the good side of rescue. Seeing the puppy that transforms from being really super tiny and you not knowing whether it’s going to live, to you know, this little guy now.”
Sadly, Quarrie isn’t the only canine to have endured some tough times. This stray dog by the name of Blue was so lonely that she used every opportunity she could to make friends. But when the sun went down on the Greek beach where she lived, she would be all alone. And even when the poor pooch chased people’s cars, no one would take her in. Little did she know, though, that someone would finally come to her aid…
That someone was Valia Orfanidou, who in August 2016 was on vacation in her hometown just outside the Greek capital, Athens. And she was staying by the sea, so every day the animal lover would take her dogs for a stroll on the beach. She usually did that in the afternoon, when the hordes of sunbathers had retreated. That way, her pooches could have the run of the beach.
It was during these walks, though, that Orfanidou and her dogs were joined by another canine. One afternoon the gang had just been minding their own business when a lone pooch bounded towards them. It seemed as if she had spotted the group from afar and wanted to join in the fun.
Recalling the incident, Orfanidou wrote in a 2016 YouTube clip, “She was looking desperately for company.” And, taking pity on the poor mutt, Orfanidou decided that it couldn’t hurt to let the little dog play with her pets while they were on the beach.
Moreover, Orfanidou suspected that the dog, who would go on to be named Blue, was one of Greece’s many strays. In 2015 animal welfare charities estimated that more than a million dogs roamed the country homeless. Unfortunately, the recent debt crisis in the country had made the problem worse, as many pet owners abandoned the animals that they could no longer afford.
So Blue’s predicament was not unusual in Greece. Her attitude, though, made her stand out from the crowd. Writing on YouTube, Orfanidou explained that the young dog, perhaps only six or seven months old, demanded human attention. Indeed, it seemed all the little puppy wanted in life was someone to love.
As Orfanidou later told The Orphan Pet, “She would spend her day on the beach, going from one person to another, wagging her tail and begging for attention.” What’s more, “She would follow people home and run behind cars driving by. She only needed one look from you, and she would come to you and stay beside you, as if this was where she belonged.”
But while Blue’s situation broke Orfanidou’s heart, she was still unsure whether she could do anything to help. “When you are an animal lover living in Greece, you simply get used to lonely stray dogs wandering around everywhere and choose to rescue the ones that can’t make it on the streets: the sick, emaciated or hurt ones, the newborns and the pregnant females,” she explained on YouTube.
Still, although Blue didn’t fit into any of these criteria, Orfanidou decided that she would have to help the dog find the love she so desperately needed. So, after a few days, Orfanidou returned to the beach to collect Blue. She then drove the hound all the way to Athens.
And once back in the city, Orfanidou took Blue straight to the vet to get checked out. She then dropped the dog off at a friend’s house until she could return to Athens for good. The hunt was now on, then, to find Blue her forever home.
And it’s unknown what fate would have been waiting for Blue if Orfanidou hadn’t stepped in. According to Greek Animal Rescue, a U.K.-based charity focused on rescuing the country’s strays, there are no major organizations in Greece that provide help for homeless animals.
Furthermore, as it is a popular tourist destination, Greece offers strays an abundance of food options at summer resorts. But when the tourist season comes to an end, the dogs are left to starve. And, as a result, dead animals on the country’s streets are common. Orfanidou, meanwhile, has revealed that her hometown is “forgotten in winter time.” There was no guarantee, then, that Blue would have survived the colder months without anyone to help her.
But, luckily for Blue, her fortunes had changed. In fact, the once lonely and vulnerable stray was thriving back at home with Orfanidou. And given that the pooch was easy to handle, sweet and easy-going, Orfanidou was sure she would make the perfect pet for one lucky owner. Then, before long, the right person came forward.
Specifically, Blue was kindly adopted by a family in the Netherlands. And in October 2016 Orfanidou duly dropped Blue off at the airport where she would begin her new life. The rescuer waved goodbye to the precious dog at the terminal, safe in the knowledge that her canine companion would never be “blue” again.
Blue’s new family, meanwhile, graciously kept Orfanidou updated on her progress in her new country. “She finally has the pack she always wanted, friends to play with, a warm bed to sleep in and everything she ever dreamed of, right there for her,” Orfanidou told The Orphan Pet. “She won’t have to feed off leftovers and garbage anymore, nor beg for attention and love. All the love in the world is there for her, to enjoy every day, for the rest of her life.”
In addition, Blue’s family set up a Facebook page for the dog. And pictures posted there show that the pooch had settled in well at her new home. She also loved spending time with fellow rescue dog and new best friend Rincewind and began to accompany her new mom to physiotherapy.
However, one day Blue may not only give support and companionship to her new mom; she may be eventually able to help others as well. Like the other rescue dogs at her new home, in fact, if she had the demeanor she could assist people with dementia, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. As a result, in December 2016 Blue went to her first service dog day to determine whether she’d make a suitable therapy dog, too.
And it came as no surprise to Orfanidou that Blue proved herself to be the ideal therapy dog. “The 16th of January Blue will go with us for the first time to visit people in a nursing home who are suffering from dementia,” her new family revealed on Facebook in January 2017. “She already proved she is very stable, doesn’t even blink with her eyes when everything around her falls down and she is really dedicated to people.”
Plus, Blue’s family and Orfanidou aren’t the only ones rooting for the dog to succeed. The once lonesome puppy now boasts over 3,000 Facebook followers, who regularly send her words of encouragement. “Blue I love your story [and] watching you thrive and feel love,” read one message from Oklahoma City.
Seeing how much Blue has come on in her new home, then, has only made Orfanidou regret those few days when she deliberated over rescuing her. However, she has now come to view the dog’s isolated start in life differently. “She spent a summer chasing people and cars, running behind anyone she met on the beach, wagging her tail and begging for something,” she said in a YouTube video. “Maybe she was not asking for help; maybe she was offering it to people who had no idea of the treasure they kept avoiding.”