AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- Those who saw her both know that Iris did not always look this good; although one thing she never lost despite what she has been through, those acquaintances said, is her loving energy.
Thanks to the kindness and care shown by a local delivery truck driver, the pit mix is on her way to finding a place to call home.
“Iris was listed; it actually means rainbow. Basically, what’s more hopeful than a rainbow?" said Alex Badecker while watching Iris run around in their backyard.
Badecker drives a delivery truck and a few weeks ago was on a route in Nottoway County, just off Route 360 near Good Hope Road, when they spotted something in the roadway.
"There were these two dogs just lying in the road, so I pulled over. I was checking to see if they had any tags or anything like that, nothing on them. But as soon as I saw them. . . it nearly made me cry," Badecker said.
Iris and another dog, later named FedEx, had clearly been abandoned. They were emaciated and displayed open wounds along their sides.
“I’m in a situation where I’m really not supposed to have passengers and stuff like that, but I was afraid they were going to get hit by a car or something like that," Badecker said.
The animals stayed top of mind through the final few stops on the route, and Badecker looked up the nearest animal control office, finding instead Morgan's Mutts Rescue in nearby Amelia County.
"So I immediately went on break, went back, and they were still there lying in the road. Picked them up and brought them over there," Badecker said.
Debra Morgan, the founder and operator of Morgan's Mutts Rescue, met Badecker there and saw the delivery truck pull up with the dogs inside.
"Skin over bones basically. Extremely emaciated. Filthy, filthy, filthy. Dirty. Greasy," Morgan said about the condition of the dogs.
Both Iris and FedEx had a sweet demeanor despite their condition and what they had clearly been through. After two days of cleaning, resting, and medical care/examination, unfortunately, the decision was made to humanly euthanize FedEx.
“Giving kisses right up to the end. It was heartbreaking," Morgan said.
After dropping the dogs off at Morgan's Mutts, Badecker said they were searching for updates on how the dogs were doing. After getting back in contact with Morgan and hearing the news about FedEx, Badecker learned that Iris was a candidate for foster care.
“It’s been really good. She’s filled out, a lot healthier, and healing," Badecker said, as Iris cheerfully ran around the large, green backyard in search of pets from humans and attention from Badecker's other dog Slingshot.
In the few weeks since her rescue, Iris's wounds have healed and she has put on a healthy amount of weight. At this point, no one really knows where Iris and FedEx came from or exactly what they were put through.
"Dogs are so forgiving. I mean humans put them in this position, and yet when they see a human, 9 times out of 10 that’s all they want: your love and affection," Morgan said.
Iris has been living with Badecker since those first few days weeks ago and plans are in the works to adopt her — a life-saving second chance.
"It just takes a second sometimes. Being kind to somebody else, another animal, it can change somebody’s whole day sometimes. I’ve seen that. Then an animal, like I said, they could’ve been hit by a car, so she gets another opportunity," Badecker said. "I have no idea what her backstory is. . . I just want to make the best for her now and in the future.”
Morgan is obviously thrilled that Iris and Badecker have connected. She said shelters and rescues across the country are swarmed, and the need for help extends into more rural areas as well. Morgan said they get multiple calls daily about abandoned animals or owners looking to surrender their pets for economic reasons.
“We need people to pass the word that there is help out there. Most rescues, animal controls, we’re all willing to help you with food or medication," Morgan said. "Just because you can’t afford certain things doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet parent.”
Volunteers, foster families, and donations are the best ways to help out, Morgan said.
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