The Story of Phillip & Milly

Dumped on the side of the road with nothing but each other.

Last week, a Ruff Start Rescue foster was driving her regular route when she spotted something in the middle of the road. As she got closer, she saw ears – pointed, with a small flop, but rigid and fluffy. There was no denying that this was a young shepherd puppy. But what was it doing on the road?

To her surprise, another set of ears popped up out of the grassy ditch. As she got closer, she realized that these didn’t look like your typical healthy puppies. Both shepherds had a defeated look in their eyes. They were extremely skinny and looked like they had been on their own for a while. The finder knew that temperatures in MN would soon be dropping, and she would need to gain their trust quickly to get them into her vehicle and to safety. She gave her best shot at a friendly “puppy voice,” and those defeated eyes quickly turned into hopeful eyes. The pups slowly but surely came to her, tails wagging and eager to accept love. The immediate sense of relief from all parties was palpable.

The finder took the two pups home, gave them warm baths, fed them, and made them a cozy space to lay their heads. However, even though they were now in her care, she was worried about them after seeing their condition up close.

The dogs, now named Phillip and Milly, were both at least 10 pounds underweight and had extremely splayed feet, a condition where the toes are separated, usually with a noticeable gap. (Splayed feet can be extraordinarily painful and cause balance issues, poor circulation, or even broken bones.) Knowing that many times, the cause of this ailment is due to long periods spent in grated kennels, Phillip and Milly’s caretaker needed some assistance in determining the best way to provide the dogs a chance at a new life while also healing them of past trauma. That’s when Ruff Start took them into rescue.

Phillip and Milly’s finder, now their foster, continued to care for the puppies as their stray hold came and went. Unfortunately, we have learned that this isn’t the first time there have been reports of neglected German Shepherd puppies found near where Phillip and Milly were discovered. Combining that information and the fact that these two sweet souls were found with severely splayed feet and multiple other ailments, we are incredibly concerned that these puppies may have been dumped by an unethical backyard breeder or puppy mill situation when they needed care the most.

The person that found Milly and Phillip has absolutely fallen in love with these sweet loving pups and their story and hopes to eventually adopt Milly once she has a clean bill of health. It’s probably safe to say that Milly has found her forever home and will finally receive the medical attention she needs while in Ruff Start’s care. 

As for Phillip, he has since been transferred to a new loving foster home. Unfortunately, quickly after arriving, he started acting very lethargic and began vomiting. His foster grew worried and promptly got him into an emergency clinic to get him checked out as his symptoms worsened. Today, he was diagnosed with Parvovirus. Parvo is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies and can quickly become deadly despite the best treatment. Upon diagnosis, Phillip was given fluids and sent home with anti-nausea medication, antibiotics to help fight the virus, and further fluids to keep him hydrated. Luckily, his symptoms were caught early, and we will do all we can to ensure Phillip can fight off this nasty virus and live the life he rightfully deserves.

We are grateful for the person that found these puppies and reached out to us to provide them medical care and a shot at a loving home. Without our expansive network of foster homes and the donor-driven ability to fund his medical needs, we wouldn’t have been able to so quickly help Milly & Phillip when they needed us most. 

If you are able, can you help us with Phillip’s care and other animals like him? Support our work this #GTMD22 and help make a difference in the lives of people and pets.