Kelly Benzel couldn’t be happier the day she got to pick up her newly adopted dog. She was sure he’d be the perfect addition to her family and couldn’t wait to shower him with love.
But as she got him in her car, she realized something was wrong. Soon she found herself calling the cops.
Kelly had a dog named Brewer, but had been thinking of getting another. She didn’t want to buy one, as she was adamant that she wanted to help a dog in need of a family.
She found the perfect dog: Rocco, a white pit bull mix. She quickly got things rolling so she could take him home as soon as possible.
Kelly had found Rocco through a Facebook page, where someone was offering to sell him for $50. It turned out the person who posted it was Rocco’s owner’s roommate, so Kelly never actually got to speak to his owner.
Kelly had her heart set on Rocco, so she let it slide and offered to buy him. Finally, the day came when she was able to pick him up.
As soon as she met Rocco in person, Kelly fell in love. He was the sweetest dog she’d ever encountered. She got him in his car and drove away, ready to begin their new life together.
But a few minutes had passed before she realized something was wrong: there was a horrible odor coming from Rocco.
There are a few common reasons for a dog to smell badly. The first one, obviously, is lack of hygiene. It was very possible that Rocco’s previous owners didn’t bathe him as often as they should have.
Another cause could be natural bacteria in dog’s paws that gives off a yeasty odor, surprisingly similar to the smell of Fritos. Perhaps Kelly was overly sensitive to that scent. Or maybe it was something more insidious.
The smell was so foul that Kelly had no choice but to pull over. She walked over to Rocco’s seat and looked him over, trying to find the source of the stench.
She couldn’t see anything at first glance, so she removed the harness that Rocco was wearing. That’s when she realized the horrifying truth.
There was a long gash on Rocco’s chest, about 6 inches long and 1.5 inches deep. Kelly hadn’t noticed it before because it had been perfectly hidden by the harness he was wearing.
She immediately understood why the smell was so bad: the wound was infected. Kelly knew she had to get Rocco to the vet right away.
Luckily for Rocco, the vet said it was possible to control the infection. She gave him antibiotics and pain relievers, and told Kelly he’d need surgery to close the wound once the infection was taken care of.
Kelly let out a sigh of relief, knowing Rocco was now on the path to recovery. But she was still left with the question: how did Rocco get this injury, and who was responsible?
After a thorough examination, the vet concluded the wound had been caused by the harness itself. She said it was likely he had been forced to wear it constantly since he was a puppy, and as he grew, the harness became embedded in his skin.
Furious, Kelly immediately called the woman she had bought Rocco from.
The woman was caught off guard when Kelly told him about Rocco’s injury. Panicked, she tried to bribe her by promising her roommate would pay for the dog’s medical bills.
But Kelly wasn’t falling for it. She called the police, knowing that what had happened to Rocco was a clear case of animal abuse.
After being contacted by Kelly and the police, Rocco’s previous owner tried to feign ignorance. He claimed he had no idea the dog had an injury on his chest.
He said the harness was for safety purposes, to keep Rocco from running away. Unfortunately for him and his roommate, the court thought otherwise.
Rocco’s previous owner and his roommate were charged with mistreatment of animals, and subsequently fined $1,500.
Though it was unclear whether any of the money would go to Rocco’s medical bills, Kelly didn’t care. She was happy that justice was served and, more importantly, that Rocco was now away from those who mistreated him so badly.
Rocco took to Kelly right away, and now she can’t imagine life without him. “I have never felt this strong of a bond or this much love from any living thing,” she told AnimalKind.
Though he was out of imminent danger, his wound was far from healed. The path to recovery would be slow, but Kelly was there for him every step of the way.
The vet told Kelly it would take around two months for the wound to be clean enough and ready to be closed up. In the meantime, Kelly would have to change his bandages regularly and make sure it didn’t get infected again.
It was hard work, and painful for Rocco, but he knew she was doing it out of love. And her efforts paid off.
After the surgery, Rocco’s wound healed up pretty fast. Soon, the pain and suffering were behind them, and they were free to enjoy family life together.
Now, a year later, Rocco still bears a scar on his chest, but that doesn’t stop him from being the happiest and most loving dog to Kelly. And for her, it’s a reminder to always be a voice for animals.