Warning: This article contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.
It never ceases to be shocking how some people are able to torment animals.
What was done to this one-year-old Golden Retriever is so unbelievably vicious, even the seasoned California vets who saw him at the animal clinic were horrified. Fergus was found on the street in a town called Lancaster with third-degree burns on his back.
The injuries he sustained were the result of very bad chemical burns. Dr. Alan Shulman of Animal Medical Center of Southern California, LA, speculated that someone must have poured battery acid or another corrosive substance on the dog. His back was one great festering lesion.
Not just the pain but also an infection had weakened Fergus to the point that the vets had to struggle to keep him alive.
Fortunately Shulman and his team were able to stabilize the suffering canine and save him from a truly dismal death. In the weeks that followed it looked as if their brave patient would recover, but the biggest challenge still lay before them: would the gaping wound on Fergus's back actually ever heal? The vets set their hopes on a type of laser therapy designed to enhance the healing of burned skin. The animal protection organization Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, which had taken Fergus under its wing, collected funds online to cover the cost of treatment.
Soon the regular irradiation therapy showed positive results: the open wound gradually closed while antibiotics prevented any new infection from developing. Although the dog was getting painkillers, the doctor who treated him was still astonished at how little he was bothered about his suffering: Fergus always came to his appointments in a good mood, cheerfully wagging his tail!
Now that he was genuinely healing, his caretakers at the organization started to look for a foster family for sweet, brave Fergus.
To their great delight they quickly found a new home for him with the animal-loving Victor Benoun right there in Los Angeles. Victor was so taken with Fergus's story that he offered to adopt him on the spot. Surrounded by love and care, Fergus recovered all the speedier.
Right away, Fergus won the heart of his adoptive "dad" and his new four-legged friend Casper, another Golden Retriever Victor already had at home. From the first moment, they seemed set to become inseparable.
Now Fergus is going a step further: not only is the plucky dog with his sunny disposition overcoming a terrible past, he's also going to become a therapy dog, bringing comfort and strength to human burn victims.
In part because of this activity Fergus has become a real star: world-famous Cesar Millan even heard about him and did a show with him!
It's hard to fathom that a dog who suffered such horrors at the hands of a human didn't just survive but will be a caretaker of humans himself.
It also turned out that Fergus wasn't the only victim of acid burns in that area: other similar cases of animal abuse were reported as well. Let's hope the perpetrator is caught very quickly and that animal lovers and doctors alike continue to provide healing as well as happy homes for these affectionate, generous canines!