Even for a dog who had spent his whole life outdoors on a chain, Odin was in very, very bad shape. He was found on a property owned by dog breeders who had neglected Odin and several other dogs. When rescuers first saw him, he wasn’t even recognizable as an Alaskan Malamute. Instead of a fluffy, black and white dog, Odin was grey, nearly hairless, and skinny to the point that his skin was hanging off his frame.
Rescuers took him to a vet immediately to determine how bad things really were. And they were bad. Odin suffered from mange, intestinal worms, skin infections, heartworms, and his teeth were broken due to neglect. It was clear that he had been suffering for a long, long time to have gotten to such a severe condition.
Odin needed special care, and was placed with Sydney Schelkopf as a foster. He came to her home tired, with a repulsive smell caused by his skin infections, and without any clue as to how to behave like a dog. Sydney’s heart broke for him.
“Odin was learning what it was like to be inside a house. He was scared. He was unsure of what to think or do. When he first got on the couch, I just burst into tears. I wondered if he had ever felt comfort like that before.”
As Odin realized he was safe and welcome inside Sydney’s home, he began to warm up to her. By his second night there, he was calm and comfortable enough to climb into her bed to fall asleep snuggled with her.
“He came up to me, let out a huge exhale and just fell onto me into the most loving embrace that has happened in history. I was in shock how he could go through this amount of pain, fear, and suffering and yet still have love and trust in his heart?
“He looked so peaceful, like it was one of the first times he had ever felt that feeling before.”
Odin’s spirit was healing, but physically, he had a long way to go. Sydney rushed him to the vet one night when she noticed him having trouble breathing while trying to rest. He was having eye and ear issues. The estimate to have a specialist work on his teeth was around $2,000. Problems were stacked on Odin, but Sydney loved and supported him through everything that came their way.
As Odin got better, he and Sydney were able to do more. Sydney gave him shirts to wear to help him stop scratching his itchy skin as his fur grew back. For Halloween he dressed as a lion with a fuzzy mane. He got to meet some other dogs and make some new friends.
By January Odin was a fluffy, fuzzy boy once again, for the first time in a long time.
Odin is finally living the life he always deserved, and Sydney is helping him remember how to be a dog as he heals.
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