Three years ago, photographer and animal welfare advocate Yvette Holzbach found a stray dog sleeping soundly on the side of the street. It was a common sight to see, not until you see the dog clinging to a similarly, discarded and forgotten teddy bear.
“Here is a stray dog taking comfort in a worn out, discarded toy. How many of the dogs that we see are also thrown out on the street once they have served their purpose?” wrote Holzbach in a Facebook post.
The post quickly became viral until this day, with some people expressing their concern for the dog, and others criticizing Holzbach for just taking a picture instead of helping the poor animal. “Why didn’t you help the dog?” asked many netizens. She, in turn, answered the brutal question in another post.
“’Why did we not pick the dog up?’ On one feeding route we can feed up to 50 stray dogs. Of those 50 dogs we are lucky if we are able to save one because the sad truth is, there are not enough foster homes to place these dogs into,” she said.
Holzbach is actually a committed dog rescuer and has been working with Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward, an organization that tries to help homeless dogs from the poorest neighborhoods in Houston, Texas.
She saw the dog hugging the toy during one of her patrols through the neighborhood. Holzbach has been regularly taking pictures of abandoned dog to remind other pet owners of having the responsibility of owning one. Instead of trying to take all of them, they try to give medical attention to as much as they can.
As Holzbach and her team came back to where they found the stray dog, they met an 87-year-old man named Mr. Calvin. He said he recognized the dog to be one of those he had been feeding. They could tell that Mr. Calvin really loved the dog. He had about 20 dogs in his backyard before and fed them.
The organization helped Mr. Calvin with his other dogs get treated and be spayed and neutered, all free of charge.
Mr. Calvin, along with the rescue group, tried to look for the dog for years. However, eight months ago, Mr. Calvin died and missed his chance to be reunited with his dog.
“I hope that by posting the picture, awareness has been raised to the plight of the street dog. We are facing an uphill battle and we can only hope that there will come a time when no dog will have to struggle to survive on the street,” Holzbach said.
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