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'Broken' Dog Can't Stop Smiling When He Realizes He's Being Rescued

The Dodo logo The Dodo 9/30/2019 Elizabeth Claire Alberts

a black dog sitting next to a fence © Dallas DogRRR Sanford was once described as a “broken dog" — but these days, he can’t stop smiling.

Karen Velazquez, Sanford’s foster mom, says he’s the happiest dog she’s ever met. 

“I am presently on my 52nd foster, and I can genuinely say that I’ve never had anyone as jovial as him,” Velazquez told The Dodo. “He looks at me in a way that no other animal or human has ever looked at me, including my own pets. Essentially, the only time he is not smiling is when he is asleep or eating.”But before Velaquez took him in, Sanford needed all the help he can get. He was rescued in April by animal control after being hit by a car, which left him unable to walk. Rescuers also found a bullet wound in his right hind leg. 

When the animal control officers found him, they took him to a small municipal shelter in Dallas, Texas, where he stayed for a week. The shelter was short on resources, so Sanford didn’t get any medical care during that time.

a dog is eating from a bowl © Dallas DogRRR When a volunteer for Dallas DogRRR, a local dog rescue group, first saw Sanford at the shelter, she knew she had to help him.

“He was physically broken … and when the volunteer went to see him, he didn’t really make any effort to come and say hello,” Kerry Anechiarico, executive director of Dallas DogRRR, told The Dodo. “It’s almost like he had given up, and he was just waiting for his time to come.”

a dog that is standing in the dirt © Dallas DogRRR But the biggest change happened when Sanford first went into foster care with Velazquez.

“He came to my home on May 1, just a few days after he was released from the hospital,” Velazquez said. “He has been all smiles ever since. I think the minute he came to my home, he realized he was in a safe place.”

a dog sitting in the passenger seat of a car © Karen Velazquez Sanford — ‘Sanfee’ to Velazquez — now spends his days eating home-cooked meals, going for daily walks and playing with Velazquez and her other dogs.

At 10 years old, Sanford is considered a senior — but he doesn’t act his age.

a large brown dog lying on the ground © Karen Velazquez “He’s pretty much a normal dog for a senior of 10 years,” Anechiarico said. “He’s like the older gentleman that you see in a nursing home. He may be 95 years old, but he acts like he’s in his 50s.”

a dog lying on the ground © Karen Velazquez While Sanford is very happy in his foster home, everyone wants to see him find a forever home.

“He’ll be a great family dog,” Anechiarico said. “He’ll get along with other dogs and all humans. He even does well with kids.”

a close up of a dog © Karen Velazquez “He’s the perfect companion dog that you can come home to,” Anechiarico added. “He’ll wag his tail and greet you, and he’ll just keep you company for the rest of the day. He’s just a happy-go-lucky dog now.”

If you’re interested in adopting him, you can contact Dallas DogRRR.

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