Alton Ledlow rescued two severely emaciated dogs, saving one from drowning last week. Since then, he has been campaigning for help with their care. Alton said rescuing the two dogs has been a transformative experience and they have given his life new purpose.
Last week, he had an irresistible urge to go fishing. When he and a friend arrived at Noisette Creek in North Carolina, a very thin dog approached them and would not leave Alton's side. Alton said the dog lead him to the water's edge where he spotted something in the creek. At first he thought it was an alligator, like the one that was already 15 yards away, or perhaps an otter.
"I realized at the same time my accompanying friend said it, that it was another emaciated dog when he raised his nose from beneath the surface of the water, as if, pleading for assistance," writes Alton in his first-hand account.
"Before I could have time to think about it...I had emptied my pockets, kicked off my shows and plunged into the 45 degree water with gator in pursuit, swam to him, fighting the under current that wished to devour us both. I freed him from the rocks tied to the stick that was pushed between his harness and swam him back to shore."
Alton struggled to swim out to the dog. He was severely injured by a drunk driver four years earlier, and the accident had left him with an injured neck and back and a crushed arm, put back together again with titanium alloy rods, pins and bone grafts.
When he got back to shore, Alton realized the dog was no longer breathing. "I placed my right hand on his chest and closed my eyes to pray for his soul."
He envisioned the injured and dying dog running and happy. Suddenly, he felt a movement and he saw the dog squint and water start pouring out of his mouth, as he fought to breathe. The dog's brother collapsed down next to him and "began licking him frantically".
The two dogs were silent through the entire ordeal, and Alton remarked it was "the only time in my life I've ever known any dogs to not bark a single time." Both dogs' gaze locked into a stare with Alton. He looked back at them "and in that moment I knew something truly astounding had occurred."
Alton feels a profound connection to the two dogs he rescued, because he too has a history of abuse and neglect and pain. On the fateful day he rescued them, he felt that they opened his heart. "Love and joy were gained and self pity and loathing were lost," he wrote.
He explained further: "A lot of time I've spent depressed and kind of moping around and feeling bad for myself. And, they put me into some perspective," he told ABC News4. "And, made me think about how lucky we are to have each day."
The dogs were taken in by Charleston Animal Society for care. The dog rescued from the water is named Alton, and the other dog named Aaron. By pure coincidence, "Aaron" happens to be the name of Alton Ledlow's younger brother.
His first few days at the shelter, Alton struggled with pneumonia. But he is beating the odds and is amazingly back on his feet. Alton and Aaron are both around 20 pounds underweight and anaemic presently. Although their conditions are still guarded, they are slowly improving. When Alton visited his namesake a few days ago, he was greeted with face-licks and happy barks.
Alton now wants to help the brothers get back to full health. He is hoping to raise funds for their immediate care and to get sponsorships for their continued care, which is looking promising. He is also hopeful he will adopt the pair after they have fully recovered.
If you would like to help Aaron and Alton:
- You can donate to the Charleston Animal Society and indicate the funds are for Aaron and Alton's care at www.charlestonanimalsociety.org/donate
- If you have any information on Alton and Aaron's abuser, please contact Crime Stoppers at 554-1111. You can make an anonymous call.
- If you are in the Charleston area, the Charleston Animal Society will be recognizing Alton Ledlow at the 13th Annual Celebrity Chili Cook Off and Oyster Roast event. The event spotlights animals in need and will be held on Saturday Nov 17, 2012 from 1pm-5pm at the Joe Riley Stadium.
For the latest updates on Alton and Aaron, check Alton's latest updates on DogHeirs. You can read his latest news here.