Stray Poodle Refuses Help – The Reason Will Break Your Heart

Every animal deserves to have a decent home and a loving family, but as we sadly know, this is not always the case. Practically every country in the world is home to thousands of abandoned cats and dogs who mostly live in the streets and are left to fend for themselves. Such was the case of Yankee, a poodle who lived in the dangerous streets of Los Angeles. One day, a group of locals spotted the little pooch and tried to assist him, and this happened. Animal lovers, don’t miss this touching story!

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

#20. Yankee The Stray Dog

Yankee was one of the many stray dogs that roamed the wild streets of LA. The locals were already familiar with him, but no-one was quite sure how long Yankee had been homeless. All they knew was that he had been fending for himself for at least a year.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

The neighbors from the area realized that Yankee struggled day after day to survive, as he looked way too thin and was not in a good shape. He would endlessly search for food leftovers before going back to the alleyway where he slept.

#19. Always Afraid

Luckily, even though he had a tough life, several neighbors adored him and brought him food and water every once in a while. However, nobody in the area seemed to be willing or capable of offering him a safe home.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

The other major problem was that Yankee got easily scared all the time. In fact, more than once did a local try to catch Yankee and take him to a shelter, but he would always run away to a secure place and begin trembling.

#18. Taking The Matter Into Hands

But one day, the locals realized that the little pooch would no longer accept the food and water they offered him. They knew this was not a good sign, and they began to fear for his life. It seemed as if he had given up on life, and the truth was that he wouldn’t last long without food.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Even though neither of the neighbors was able to take the dog in, they understood that it was up to them to find him a home. Besides, Yankee looked seriously ill, so something had to be done and quick. Therefore, they decided to call Hope for Paws, an animal rights advocacy NGO.

#17. Help Was On Its Way

Hope for Paws is a non-profit animal rights group that helps rescue stray or abandoned animals. They pay for the rescued animals’ veterinary costs and help find them a home. When they received a message about a dying poodle, they immediately sent a rescue team to fetch him.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

In a matter of minutes, two volunteers showed up, and as soon as they saw Yankee, they realized he wouldn’t survive much longer without proper food and healthcare. The neighbors told them that the dog seemed hopeless, as during the past days he had refused to either eat or drink water.

#16. He Was Depressed

The animal rescuers told the neighbors that Yankee was depressed. Many people ignore the fact that depression is quite common in dogs, especially among stray dogs. In fact, even dogs who have caring owners may get depressed, especially if they feel they don’t receive enough attention.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Even though Yankee meant no harm and was not at all aggressive, he couldn’t help but distrust anyone who got near him, including the rescuers. It would take quite a while for him to cave in, but luckily, the Hope for Paws volunteers knew just how to handle these cases.

#15. A Skeptical Dog

Yankee ran towards the corner of the alleyway where he always slept and trembled each time the volunteers tried to approach him. They tried to put a leash around his neck, but he kept withdrawing quickly. According to the rescuers, this probably meant that other people had taken advantage or mistreated him in the past.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Considering he had had a tough and miserable life, it was easy to understand why he would refuse any type of human approach. After all, if humans had already abused him before, why would he trust in these strangers’ good intentions?

#14. He Caved In

The rescuers knew that patience was the key, as it’s perfectly normal for street dogs to feel both nervous and distrustful. But fortunately, they coaxed him out of the alleyway and took the poor little dog to a safer place. They placed a leash on his head as soon as they could so that he wouldn’t run away.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

The neighbors couldn’t believe it since hundreds of times had they tried to do the same but without any success. But even though Yankee had the same hopeless look on his face, little did he know that his life would improve for good.

#13. Checking Him Up

The caretakers carefully took the dog to the rescue van, and meanwhile, one of the neighbors would keep patting him on the head. However, Yankee was still as frightened as ever, so he didn’t quite appreciate the woman’s display of affection.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Once they put him inside the van, the volunteers gave him a check-up, just to see whether he had any open wounds, bruises, skin infection, or something of the sort. Luckily, he didn’t have any major wounds, which was odd considering he had been living in the streets for months. What he needed was just plenty of food and a nice hot bath!

#12. Off To The Vet!

The volunteer started the van and headed towards the rescue hospital, and as soon as they hit the road, poor Yankee started shaking visibly. Evidently, riding a vehicle was a brand new experience for him and he didn’t quite get what was going on.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

The rescuers knew they had to give Yankee some space, so they placed him in a crate in the very back of the vehicle but left the gate open just in case he wanted to walk around. Surprisingly, he timidly crept out of the crate when they were halfway there.


The rescuers definitely did not expect Yankee to walk to the passenger’s seat and sit right next to two of the volunteers on his own will. Everyone was glad he was gradually starting to open up.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Evidently, Yankee had understood that these people were there to help him and meant no harm whatsoever. The volunteers gave him a plastic ball to play with, and he definitely had some fun chewing it!

#10. Clean Health Bill

It was not long before the rescuers arrived at the veterinary hospital, and they were hoping the dog wouldn’t have any heartworms or any of serious infection. To everyone’s relief, the vets confirmed he had no infections nor did he have any major skin injuries.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

But even though he received a clean health bill, he did have severely matted fur covered with a thick layer of dust, not to mention his stench. So one thing was for sure: he needed a bath as soon as possible!

#9. No Way José!

After he had gone through his medical checkup, they took Yankee to the rescue center to give him the bath he so much needed. However, the pooch’s trust problems knocked on their door one more time.

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Yankee just wouldn’t stop trembling and he even tried to bite the volunteers’ hands each time they tried to scrub his fur. Once again, the caretakers were used to this type of behavior and they knew it was just a matter of time. However, when they were left heartbroken when they realized the following.

#8. Life Of Neglect

Sure, the volunteers had plenty of experience at dealing with fearful dogs, but Yankee just took things to the next level. Several hours passed and he was just as skeptical as the moment they found him, and there was only one explanation behind such conduct.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Evidently, this poor ol’ doggo had probably received no affection throughout all his life. He was never looked after nor had he ever socialized correctly with human beings. But Yankee would soon receive the love and affection he so much deserved.

#7. Cracking The Shell

After a huge effort, the volunteers managed to bathe him, and he was as clean as ever. In fact, his color had radically changed! If you think this is an overstatement, then look at the picture below… he’s white as a sheet!

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

By nighttime, Yankee finally began to open up, as he understood that all the people who surrounded him meant to assist him. But now that he had recovered his confidence… it was playtime!

#6. Play Time

Yankee spent a few more weeks in the rescue center surrounded by other formerly stray dogs. The thing was that he still had to regain a bit of weight in order to achieve a complete recovery. For the first time in his life, he received an adequate amount of food and water his body needed.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Furthermore, living for a while at the rescue clinic really helped him grow used to human contact and gradually got a taste for playing around with some of the caretakers’ children. But now came the hard part: finding him a permanent home!

#5. A Home For Yankee

In a matter of weeks, Yankee had grown very attached to the volunteers at the rescue center. He wiggled his tail each morning when he first saw them, something that would have been unthought of on his first day there.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

However, it was time to find him a foster home as his health was now good enough. And guess what? He was taken to another rescue center called Rescue From The Hart, where he quickly bonded with a young boy who lived there!

#4. Best Friends

In a matter of days, Yankee adapted to the new environment and quickly bonded with this little fella. Who would’ve thought that this once homeless poodle would soon become such a cuddly and playful creature!

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

The boy was actually the son of one of the caretakers at the rescue center, and he and Yankee became best friends. They just loved to run around the backyard day after day and he bought Yankee all sorts of toys.

#3. Happier Than Ever

Take a look at this smile, and don’t tell me he doesn’t look like a brand new dog! Yankee is as happy as a dog can be, and no-one who meets him now would ever guess he was once a shy, fearful, and traumatized pooch.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Yankee was really flourishing at his new home. It almost seemed as if he had to go through years of misery in order to receive the love he needed. Without a doubt, no animal should ever have to go through all that Yankee did… but look at him now!

#2. Who Would’ve Thought?

It’s needless to mention that Yankee’s rescuers back at Hope for Paws were happy the pooch had found a safe new home. The fact is that transitioning to a new home is not always easy for pets, and the volunteers were afraid Yankee wouldn’t take it too well.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

But despite their doubts, Yankee proved them wrong. They visited him after his first month at Rescue from the Heart, and they witnessed with their own eyes just how joyful the dog was. Thanks to his newfound bond with his owner, he had become way more social!


Let’s end this heart-warming story with a picture of Yankee before and after being rescued. Isn’t it shocking? It strikes me that the two pictures were taken only a few weeks apart, and this sharp contrast proves just how far kindness and love can go.

Photo: Courtesy of Coolimba

Who knows what would’ve happened to this pooch had the neighbors never called? Or had the rescuers never showed up? Or had he never met the boy, his current owner and best friend? Luckily, it all turned out for the best, and Yankee’s smile is something we’ll all treasure for the rest of our days.

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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