“He couldn’t even stand on his hind legs to beg, but Juanita took food from her dish, placed it on the chair and nudged it to the floor.”
Timmy was found on the streets of Argentina in 2016, cowering in a corner all alone. He was emaciated, mange-ridden and scared of everyone around him, and he could barely stand, let alone walk, because he was so weak. A kind woman who often rescues strays off the streets took him in and posted about him on Facebook, hoping to find someone willing to take a chance on him.
That’s how Jessica Rojo Savard, Timmy’s new mom, found him.
Savard already had a cat and a dog of her own at home, both with their own rescue stories, and she had decided a while back that her adoption quota had been filled. When she saw the post about Timmy, though, all of that changed. There was something about his face that told her he was meant to be hers.
“I cried while I read the post and immediately after contacted [his rescuer] to adopt him, even if in the picture I couldn’t tell if he was a puppy or a senior, had short hair or long hair … it did not matter,” Savard told The Dodo. “I knew that in his state, adoption would be hard.”
Savard waited a few weeks until Timmy’s mange was no longer contagious, then went to pick him up and brought him straight to the vet. Aside from the issues Savard already knew about, Timmy was doing OK, and had even started to gain some weight since he was first rescued. Everyone who encountered Timmy would gasp when they saw him, though, because he was still so skinny and sickly looking. He barely looked like a dog at all. The secretary at the vet’s office commented that he looked more like a meerkat than a dog, and that’s where his proper name, Timon — the name of the meerkat in “The Lion King” — came from.
As soon as Timmy arrived in his new home, it became clear to his mom that even though he was making progress physically, he still had a long way to go emotionally. Poor Timmy was terrified of absolutely everyone, and at first, he refused to go near any member of his new family.
“His first week at home was a process,” Savard said. “He was scared of everyone and everything. I couldn’t sweep for a week! Whenever I reached for the broom he would cower and whine. He spent the first day just looking at us, rolled up [in] his basket and cringing whenever the cat came near him. We had to gain his trust.”
It was clear that Timmy had likely suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of humans in the past, and it would take some time for him to overcome his issues. His family was so patient with him, though, and made sure to give him tons of love and affection in order to show him that he was finally safe. His new dog sister Juanita could sense that Timmy needed a little extra love, and tried her best to make him feel at home from the very beginning.
“I kept Juanita’s food on a chair so that Timmy did not binge eat and be sick to his tiny stomach, so after devouring his portion, he would stare sadly at Juanita on the chair,” Savard said. “He couldn’t even stand on his hind legs to beg, but Juanita took food from her dish, placed it on the chair and nudged it to the floor. It was truly humbling to witness.”
There were moments where it seemed like Timmy would never warm up to his new family — but as time went on and Timmy became healthier and healthier, his true personality finally began to shine through, and he transformed into the sweetest, most outgoing little dog.
“His transformation was a miracle happening before our eyes,” Savard said. “He became a neighborhood celebrity. Everyone would pet him and marvel at the progress week by week. He became fuller, sturdier, his hair started to grow long and shiny and oh so soft, until what he is today. A happy, charismatic, sweet and beautiful dog.”
Now, Timmy loves going for walks and greeting everyone he passes. He loves playing with toys, and adores all the members of his family. He’s become an expert at making new friends, and is a far cry from the scared, skinny dog he was when he was first found.
A year after Timmy was adopted, Savard found out she was pregnant, and realized that Timmy seemed to sense it even before she did. He stayed by her side throughout the entire pregnancy, waiting for his new best friend to arrive. Baby Julia is now 11 months old, and she and Timmy are completely inseparable.
“They are the best of friends, up to the point that I feel a bit left out,” Savard said. “Sometimes Julia would push me aside to get to him or Timmy will climb over me to reach her.”