Rescue and Resiliency of Man’s Best Friend


by Denise Carey-CostaTimber

Everyone has heard the age old adage “the dog is man’s best friend.” For centuries historians, authors, and poets have documented countless stories of dogs’ heroic acts on the battlefield, saving their masters from peril and their overall constant loyalty and unconditional love toward their human companions.

But is man really dog’s best friend? For all their loyalty, bravery and love, humans have subjected dogs to abuse, torture, neglect, skinning their fur, and experimenting on them.

What is it about the human condition that causes them to commit these heinous acts against helpless animals with no remorse?

As a species we are evolving on all technological fronts but we are regressing in the areas of compassion, morals, empathy and our overall humanity.

Rescue groups across the nation deal with these atrocities day in and day out, never seeing the end in sight. Each of these rescued animals, although they are voiceless, their scarred bodies and hopeless eyes clearly tell stories of abuse, suffering and pain.

GTS Husky Rescue in Jupiter, Florida is a fairly new rescue. They were incorporated in July of 2014 under the leadership of Natalie Lucia. The rescue is comprised of a group of dedicated volunteers who will travel anywhere in the United States to rescue death row Huskies from high kill shelters. The dogs are transported back to Florida to be cared for and adopted.

About a month ago GTS pulled a Husky from Clay County Florida Animal Control. The dog had been found in the woods and was in such bad shape no one expected him to last the night. He was taken to GTS and placed in ICU. They named him Timber.

Erica Polites, a professional photographer and author of the book “Portrait of a Shelter Dog” has worked with many shelters in the south Florida area. She has photographed their dogs and brought out the unique beauty of each and every one of these abandoned, forgotten and overlooked members of society. Those deemed worthless and disposed of like trash.

When Erica first met Timber in ICU to photograph him, she was so distraught she cried at the sight of him. According to her she had never seen a dog in such horrible condition. Harm that could only have been inflicted by a human(s).

When Timber arrived at GTS it was determined by his condition that he had been severely neglected for years. He is a middle aged dog, heartworm positive, underweight by 27 pounds and was covered in parasites and filled with worms. Due to the parasites he had to have all of his fur completely shaved off. His jaw was possibly broken at one time and never fixed thus causing a deformity and the inability to open his mouth beyond 1 inch. He also has severe tooth decay exposing all of the roots of his teeth, pus coming from his eyes and severe skin issues.

He was unable to walk when the rescue picked him up and was also very anemic. Whoever was responsible for him neglected him to the point of near death then dumped him to die in the woods.

But Timber is not going to die; he is going to survive thanks to GTS and the spirit of resiliency. When Erica visited Timber again on October 12th, he was able to stand up. He still struggles but he can get himself around. He took treats from her hand but still has difficulty chewing and yawning due to his jaw being out of alignment. He loves tennis balls but can’t really do much with them. After all he has been through he still has a sweet disposition and wags his tail. He also gets along with other dogs.

Reading stories like Timber’s and others like him, we ask when will this end? It will not end until animal abusers are actually given a punishment that suits the crime, when crimes against animals are looked upon as acts of violence and not something of a lesser value because it’s “just an animal.”

All we can do is keep fighting for animals like Timber and supporting rescue groups like GTS that devote their lives to a job that brings no glory, fame or riches.

Hang in there Timber, you have many people that love and support you and want you to get better! We can only apologize for the rest of the human race.

If you want to help Timber on his road to recovery, please visit

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men” – ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

To order Erica Polites’s book “Portrait of a Shelter Dog” visit….

This story was first published on and is reposted here with the author’s permission.

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