Phoenix was abandoned, left to suffer alone.
Fort Bend County residents Allie and Garrett Post have an animal rescue shelter on their property in Fulshear, and already have their hands full with five family pets.
But thanks to a recent twist of fate, the Posts might soon add to their family while giving Phoenix a home.
The pup and the Posts have become intertwined in each other’s lives during the last two weeks. During that time, a severe case of apparent animal cruelty has morphed into the perfect marriage of a loving family and a rejuvenated dog.
“This little guy has our hearts,” said Allie Post, who works for Fort Bend County Animal Services.
The love story began June 12, when a field officer with Fort Bend County Animal Services found Phoenix abandoned near a tow truck company in the Rocky Falls area of Richmond, chained up with severe apparent chemical burns over about 25 percent of his body.
Upon being brought to animal services, Phoenix was immediately transferred to the Fort Bend Animal Hospital.
The black Labrador, who the Posts believe to be 3 or 4 years old, had to be sedated due to severe pain caused by third-degree burns, some of which have yet to heal.
“He was basically aggressive to everything,” Garrett Post said.
“He didn’t want anything to do with anybody,” Allie added.
Due to the severity of his burns – skin may never grow back in some places – Phoenix needed not just a clean environment, but a sterile one. That was nearly impossible at the clinic because of the dozens of animals coming in on a daily basis.
So the Posts made a choice.
“I decided to take him home,” Allie said. “I thought we could put him in our office, away from everyone, and in a place where he could relax and recover … and after a day at the house, he was completely different.”
Allie Post has 10 years of veterinary tech experience and said she has always harbored a passion for pets. Nearly a decade ago, that passion spawned her Precious Paws, a service for helping people take care of their animals.
“I wanted to be there to help and educate,” she said. “It took me further into the process of care, where I saw a lot of negligence and cruelty.”
Soon after, she and her husband began a pet rescue and hospitality center on their five-acre property in Fulshear. And though they have helped and treated a multitude of animals, she said when Phoenix’s case came about, it was a different animal.
“I feel like Phoenix has come into our lives to help the rescue grow and show what we’re here for and what we can do,” she said. “Animals are helpless. They don’t have a voice. Who’s going to help them if we don’t?”
It takes a village
The Posts were quick to thank the Fort Bend County community for their support in Phoenix’s road to recovery. Payment for his medical bills are being provided for by the county’s animal services and Fort Bend County Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS), which was founded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales in 2015.
PAWS put out a fundraiser for medical expenses for cases like Phoenix, and within a week had already surpassed its goal. As part of the fundraiser, PAWS agreed to match the first $7,500 it received in donations.
As of publication, about $8,700 had been raised to pay for Phoenix’s treatment and recovery. Garrett said the Posts’ Fort Bend For Phoenix Facebook page has also taken on a life of its own since they created it June 16.
“The people who live (in Fort Bend County) are especially generous toward causes like this,” he said. “We’ve got people who are following his recovery every day.”
Phoenix, who remains on two different kinds of antibiotics and pain medication, likely has another month or two before he’s healed up enough to play with other animals and another five or six months until hair starts growing back.
It also remains a challenge for the foster family to contain the pup’s natural happiness.
But two weeks after they welcomed him into their home, the Posts say his true disposition has come out, and he’s now the most happy-go-lucky animal they’ve seen.
“He’s gentle enough now that he’s been around our 16-month-old daughter and has no problems being around her. He’s such a sweetheart,” Garrett said. “All he wants to do is go out and play with other dogs. He’s just not healed enough to be able to do that yet. If he sees the other dogs at the rescue, all he wants to do is go up and smell them and love on them.”
If the worst problem the Posts have is simply holding back his excitability until he’s ready, they’ll gladly take it.
“He could’ve completely hated other humans and animals for the rest of his existence, or he could’ve gone this way,” Garrett said. “He trusts us, and he loves other animals.”
As a result, the Posts say there is a high likelihood that Phoenix will be officially welcomed into their family sooner rather than later.
There’s no need to find him a forever home, because he’s already there.
“He’s grown to trust us, and we love him so much. In his case, if he goes to somebody else’s home, he’s going to be stressed and anxious. It’s going to be upsetting for him,” Garrett said. “With developing his trust with us, and with how much we care about him, he’s going to be a part of our family.”
To follow Phoenix’s road to recovery, readers can “like” and request to join the Fort Bend For Phoenix Facebook group page.