Abandoned matted and left to survive on the streets on his own, Combo had even something even worse done to him. He was spotted by a woman, Sophia, wandering alone in a suburb of Athens, Greece in terrible condition. How this tiny baby wasn’t rescued sooner isn’t even worth discussing. Sophia contacted Save a Greek Stray, and the next day Combo was taken to the shelter.
He looked so confused. He just kept watching his rescuers take care of him, and in his huge eyes you could see nothing but awe and fear. I’ve never met a dog so cooperative and submissive as him. He never made a sound, never reacted to anything that was being done to him. He just stood there while he received a haircut and a bath, as if he was stuffed toy, as if he has never been treated gently before.
Apart from the matted hair and all the dirt he was carrying in his tiny, suffering body, the dozens of tick draining him, the wounds and his terrible skin condition, what we discovered while shaving his neck was far worse. Two stitches on the back of his neck, right where the microchip once used to be. Nobody can actually tell when it was removed, and for what reason – whether it was done by the previous owners, before abandoning him to survive on his own, or by the people who stole him and had to remove the microchip so that he wouldn’t be traced. But one thing is for certain, it was done by someone who knew how to do it.
When you are involved in animal welfare in Greece, there’s nothing that can ever amaze you. Neglect, abuse, abandonment, emaciation, dogs found shot in the head, hang in trees or drowned deliberately in the sea, plastic bags with newborn kittens of puppies recovered from garbage bins… you name it. But Combo’s story was a first -at least for me.
I just felt stupid. We try our best to educate people about their pet’s wellbeing, and micro chipping is one of the main campaigns of all animal welfare organizations. But what’s the point? What’s the point when anyone can just take a knife, dig up through the animal’s neck and remove it? Should we even mention what happened to Combo, or will we be giving some sick people the idea of doing it too?
It took a few weeks for Combo to trust and realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of. He spent about a month just laying there in his kennel, looking. Looking at us take care of him every day. He would just eat and go back to sleep. He was so submissive and calm that we started wondering how he would turn out to be once he gained back his confidence.
And against all odds, Combo turned out to be the ultimate sweetheart. Once you open his kennel door, he will jump right into your arms and stay there forever. He never leaves a hug, and unless you put him down yourself, he will just stay there forever. He’s already started taking small walks around the shelter, and is so human centered that he will follow you around, wherever you go, as he was trained to do so. He’s the sweetest boy I’ve ever met and I just can’t have enough of him.
Combo has yet to recover, until he’s ready for his forever home. He’s responding to treatment very well, gaining weight and confidence and has left behind all that hurt in the past. His beautiful reddish will grow back, and we’ll make sure that he gets to spend the rest of his life as he deserves.