IRVINGTON, Ind. - A senior dog is getting a new lease on life after he was found deaf, starving and weak at a parking lot in Indiana.
Last summer, a Good Samaritan called Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside, or FIDO, after finding an elderly, deaf mutt covered in thousands of fleas and sores, WRTV-TV reported.
“He was clearly malnourished and extremely dehydrated,” said Jeni Christoffersen, president of FIDO. “He had no energy, was lethargic and couldn’t even walk or lift his head.”
Christoffersen said doctors found evidence the dog had been beaten, kicked and starved.
“We didn’t want to take the animal someplace where he’d be put down,” Christoffersen said.
FIDO did some networking and eventually found a home for the dog with Susan Niehoff, of Irvington, Ind.
“I just loved him, and I hadn’t even seen him yet,” said Niehoff. “He just looked like a Norman, so that’s what I named him.”
At first, Norman was protective of his food, possibly a side effect of abuse.
“He really didn’t want anybody touching him,” Niehoff said.
Norman’s age was estimated at 14 years old.
The dog eventually warmed up to Niehoff.
“Pretty soon he became velcro,” Niehoff said.
But unfortunately, Norman’s legs were giving out due to arthritis.
“He just started getting slower and slower in his walk and his left leg, he drags it now,” said Niehoff.
FIDO launched another search for a doggy wheelchair, which can run more than $300.
Through networking they found an animal rescue in Kentucky willing to donate a wheelchair to Norman.
“He’s happy now, he can go places,” said Niehoff. “He wants to go places.”
Authorities never found who abused Norman, but FIDO estimates thousands of animals are abused or neglected every year in central Indiana.
“It’s these kinds of successes on a case by case basis that encourage us to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Christoffersen.
Norman likely only has a few years of life left, but Niehoff and animal advocates are determined to make those years active.
“I want to make him as comfortable as possible,” Niehoff said. “He brings such joy to my life and I want to bring joy to him.”
Niehoff plans to pamper Norman with lots of walks and peanut butter from the jar.