With over 1,000,000 subreddits for different niche communities, Reddit has a lot to offer. The “BeforeNAfterAdoption” subreddit is for people who love dogs and want rescues and dog owners to talk about why they adopted their dogs. These pictures and videos are, of course, moving, and they are a good way to remember why we care about saving animals.
Graham Whatmough, also known on Reddit as “u/Where The Highway Ends,” posted a beautiful story of his dog Willow enjoying the outdoors. You would never guess that she had been through so much trouble before they met. This happy, active puppy was once found hungry and paralyzed in the woods. She must have met the person who saved her by chance.
Whatmough quit his job in the oil field four years ago to become a freelance photographer and videographer, which was his dream. He spends a lot of time outside exploring beautiful places. He was walking through the woods one day when he saw something a little strange.
Whatmough always takes the same path through these woods, but he decides to take a different one today. He stopped to take a picture of some berries he had found, but something else caught his eye.
“I took just a few more steps and saw a downed tree with a light-colored animal lying behind it. I thought it was a deer or a coyote hiding because it didn’t move or make any noises. Then I saw a pink collar on it, and I knew it was a dog.
The dog’s first sign of fear and aggression was that she bared her teeth and growled. Whatmough didn’t get closer than 15 feet to her because he was afraid she would run away. All he could give her to eat were a few berries he had picked, which he threw at her. She ate the fruit, and to his delight, she wiggled her tail for a moment. She quickly drank the water he gave her from his bottle, so he went back to his truck to get more and brought it back for her.
Whatmough thinks she is a dog that is out of control or lost because of how willing she is to trust. She looked like she was just a few months old. “I still thought she was just a runaway who might have been thirsty and hungry. Because of the berries and water, I couldn’t wait to get close to her and start scratching her nose, which she or he really liked.”
Whatmough noticed that the woman seemed a little nicer, but the dog didn’t move around much. Something must be wrong with her back legs.
“After she warmed up, I told her to stand up and walk. When she did, I saw that she was sometimes walking almost entirely on her front legs.” Her back legs looked like they went out from both sides of her bottom. After being stuck in the jungle for a little while, I kept thinking that she might just be hungry and need to move around.
Soon, Whatmough would find out that both of the dog’s back legs had been broken, and that the dog was now healing wrongly because of this. It didn’t look like she was in very good shape.
Whatmough took the dog to the vet to get care and x-rays. They decided that she would either want to have her legs cut off or need expensive, risky surgery. During this time, no one said to this poor girl, “When the vet told me my choices were an amputation, a very expensive surgery, or giving her to the bylaw department, where she would likely be put down, I decided to take care of her at least until I could find someone to adopt her. People cared about the dog he found in the woods because he kept telling them about it. Whatmough explained that donations from his community helped pay for the surgery. They were ready to find $4,000 in just one day! That’s how he knew he could never give up this dog. “After having her for a few days and seeing how my community came together to help her with donations, I knew I wouldn’t be ready to give her up.”
Willow was a good name for the dog in the woods. Every day, Whatmough walked Willow and stretched her legs. When she looked like she was having trouble, he sometimes wished he had gotten her surgery. But the brave Willow had a tough time getting better. “She would also show signs of discomfort when I stretched and pulled her back legs, but she would let me stretch her again if I stopped. She resisted less and less, and now, when I really pull hard and work to stretch her, she doesn’t seem to care at all.”
Willow didn’t stop having fun in the woods because of what she had been through. She and Whatmough are always together, even more so now that he works as a receptionist. “I go hiking for two to six hours every day, summer and winter, and she or he loves it all. She loves the snow, but after about four hours in -30C, she started to move. She pulled her paw out of the snow and went into the shelter, which told me it was time to go home. Willow runs like a champ now, even though her back legs used to be broken and messed up. The story of Willow and Graham reminds us that every dog is important and that sometimes fate puts us on the path of the right dog. Here’s hoping that they have a happy life together!