On July 18, a nervous 2 year old Golden Retriever mix was dumped by his family at the Manhattan Animal Care & Control facility. He was tense, nervous and trying to bite people. In case you’re wondering if that’s *really* true, take a look at his intake photo below:

Pretty teeth, no?

Why was Layson acting so aggressively? Just take a look at the shelter’s medical notes from July 20: “lameness on rear legs , limited exam due to behavoir unable to extend hip joints.”

Just four days after he came in, he was placed on the “At Risk” list on the night of July 22, meaning he would be killed the following day if no one stepped up for him. An unknown rescue must have placed a temporary hold on him, because he wasn’t killed. Instead, he was put right back on the euthanasia list again that night.

The second day he was set to be killed, on July 24, our President and founder Linda was at the Manhattan shelter. Hearing about Layson and how, ahem “difficult” he was to handle, she said “let me see what this guy is about.” Well, Layson not only *tries* to bite, that day he *did* bite. He got Linda’s foot and left impressions, but thankfully didn’t break the skin. Knowing he would be placed on a mandatory 10 Department of Health bite hold if anyone found out, Linda hid the incident from staff and volunteers. Later I got a text that simply said, “Layson bit me. So we’re taking him.”

Is Linda crazy? Yes! But sometimes in the world of rescue, you have to be a little crazy and take chances on dogs like Layson. What if another rescue pulled him and just sent him off to some inexperienced foster or adopter and they got hurt? No, Linda could not take the chance of that happening. If someone could take Layson and turn him around, it was Posh.

It wasn’t until after Linda committed to taking Layson that I read over his volunteer memo. I’ve read thousands of these and never before has one made my heart hurt so much:

“I first met Layson, he was being led into the shelter from the lobby. His fur was unkempt and dirty, his movement labored, his face an angry grimace. He seemed feeble and needed to be propelled forward by his handler.There was no doubt in my mind that he was a senior citizen. When I visited him later, he lay still in his kennel without looking up, lips pursed emitting a low growl at the sound of my voice, uninterested in treats or a walk outside. Layson just wanted to be left alone. The next day I knew he would have to do his business, or at least have his kennel cleaned and blankets changed, so I was more insistent. He was sitting up this time. His eyes were clear and his clean white teeth formidably bared. Maybe not so old after all? I opened his kennel door and he glared and snarled, but did not move. I threw the soft rope and it landed around his neck as he pulled back and held his ground. I loosened my hold and stood there for a few minutes before Layson made the decision to step out. He did so gingerly and with calculated moves. I saw that he seemed to limp on his right front leg, and his back legs seemed unsteady. His entire body was slightly hunched over. On the way out Layson froze but, with a light tug, he began walking ever so slowly. It took some effort, but he made it up the stairs to the backyard and did his business slightly off balance with a slow lifting of his leg. Watching Layson outdoors broke my heart. He stood stoically, tried a bit of sniffing, froze, tried again, froze. So much effort, so much courage . . . Still viable with a beating heart but a failing body, Layson is like an old man who can’t remember where he is or why. Unsure of everything, trusting no one, Layson is a forgotten soul who seems to have lived only a tortured life. He is in so much discomfort one can only imagine he would rather just give up. If Layson is as young as indicated then, without a doubt, he has existed for two years as a sad, unloved, and neglected dog. My guess is that Layson has never been part of a real family. My guess is that he’s never been touched tenderly or spoken to lovingly.”

Layson was immediately transferred to our vet, the ever-awesome Dr. G. Once there, he again proved to be a handful, baring his pearly teeth and snapping at staff members. He had to be sedated just to be examined. What they found was horrifying. The pads of Layson’s paws were scorched and melted, as if he had been forced to stand on a hot surface for an extended period of time. Given this and the condition of the rest of his body, there is no doubt in our minds that this poor soul was neglected (and possibly even tortured) for most of his short life. There is also little doubt that these ailments and lack of compassion by humans in the past have led to his aggressive behavior.

After spending several weeks with Dr. G, Layson became quite enamored with Liz, the head vet tech. She could handle him with no problem. At that point, we decided to enlist the help of an experienced trainer, Tuncay Adem with Canine Counsel on Long Island. He arrived there last week and it seems Layson has already developed a fondness for Tuncay 🙂

Before Layson can really begin training though, we need to address his physical ailments. Layson needs double hip replacement surgeries, due to fractures which likely happened quite a long time ago. He has trouble walking, trouble sitting, trouble laying down. He cannot even squat to use the bathroom properly. Watching him is truly heart-breaking, as he cannot even go about every day tasks without a tremendous amount of pain.

Layson needs our help. He needs surgery to correct the hip fractures his previous owners chose to ignore. Once he is on the road to physical recovery, Tuncay can start him on the road to mental recovery with training. Our hope, and genuine belief, is that once he’s no longer in pain, Layson will trust humans and know that we are here for him.

Please help us make this happen. We need to get the funds together for Layson’s surgery beforehand, since it is being done by a specialist vet and we cannot run a bill there. So many people rallied for Layson in the beginning and helped raise funds to cover part of his first vet bill. We are desperately hoping people will rally for Layson once again and help lift him from this darkness.

You can donate for Layson’s care here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/layson-needs-new-hips-/85665

“The soul in the darkness sins, but the real sinner is he who caused the darkness.” ~ Victor Hugo

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