The morning of February 25 started out as just a normal day for Nate Ohlman. He was going along his route, delivering the mail as he always does, when he suddenly noticed an elderly dog huddled up in a ditch at the end of a dead-end road. It was absolutely freezing outside that day, the middle of a harsh Missouri winter, and Ohlman could tell the poor dog was struggling to find a way to keep warm. Seeing him all alone in the cold broke his heart, and he knew he had to try and find a way to help him.
Ohlman tried to approach the dog slowly, not wanting to startle him — but quickly realized that the senior dog couldn’t hear or see very well.
“I moved around a bit and made some noises, until he could see me and as soon as he did, he stood up and bolted for my mail truck,” Ohlman told The Dodo. “He was frostbitten, starving and alone.”
As soon as the dog, later named Sloan, saw Ohlman, he somehow knew he was there to help him. Ohlman climbed into his truck with Sloan and looked down at the skinny dog, wondering how someone could have let him down so badly.
Knowing he needed help as quickly as possible, Ohlman rushed Sloan to the nearest animal hospital. He dropped him off, crossing his fingers that his new friend would be OK, and made sure the staff at the hospital had his contact information so they could update him on how Sloan was doing.
“I told the clinic to attach my phone number to him. I wanted to know what was going to come of this sweet boy,” Ohlman said.
Ohlman went back to work after that and continued along his route — but no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t get Sloan out of his head.
“I thought about how and why somebody can do such a terrible thing to such a helpless creature,” Ohlman said. “It broke my heart to continue to think he had no one to love him. I had to adopt him — just had to. I do not believe in a lot of things but I do believe I was meant to find him.”
At that point, though, all Ohlman could do was hope with everything he had that Sloan would pull through, and that they would somehow find their way back to each other in the end.
Sloan ended up being taken in by KC Pet Project, and arrived at their shelter the day after he was rescued from the side of the road. He was in horrendous condition, and everyone at the rescue was heartbroken by the sight of him.
“He was severely underweight, he had sores all over his body and he could barely stand or walk on his own for a long period of time,” Tori Fugate, chief communications officer at KC Pet Project, told The Dodo. “He had the lowest body score condition that our veterinarians could give.”
Sloan’s rescuers immediately started him on medications and fluids, and kept an extremely close eye on him for several days. They were worried the poor pup was too far gone, but after receiving the best care he could possibly be given, Sloan started to improve, and was eventually strong enough to move into a foster home, where he continued on his long road to recovery.
It was estimated that Sloan was around 12 years old, and yet despite his age, he began to heal and transform into the sweetest, goofiest dog who wanted nothing more than to be around people all the time, getting all the love and attention he’d been craving for so long.
Before long, Sloan was thriving in his foster home, and when it was time for him to finally go off to his forever home, Sloan’s friends at KC Pet Project knew exactly who to call.
Ohlman was over the moon when he found out he was officially able to adopt Sloan, and the pair’s reunion was the absolute sweetest thing. Sloan immediately recognized the man who saved his life, and thanked him with so many kisses and cuddles. Sloan has been settling in wonderfully to his new home, and is loving every minute of his new life.
“Sloan is an elderly dog who I believe used to belong to a family,” Ohlman said. “His demeanor and actions are proof. Somebody did something very inhumane. I only did the humane thing.”
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