Burt Maklin, a 2-year-old mastiff, arrived at the Dumb Friends League Leslie A. Malone Center after being found wandering at a local metro Denver elementary school. While nothing was known about Burt’s history other than where he was found, it was apparent he was extremely underweight and dehydrated.

The emaciated pup weighed only 56.2 pounds and had hair loss on his tail and the right side of his body, along with a small circular wound and dental disease. But, despite his conditions, Burt was a sweet love of a pup. Our veterinarians suspected Burt Macklin suffered from a prolonged state of starvation and neglect.

Burt wouldn’t survive much longer without food and veterinary care with his rib bones visible, hips protruding and sunken eye sockets. Staff knew Burt Macklin would be more comfortable as he recovered outside of the shelter environment with one of our loving foster families.

In one week with his wonderful foster family, Burt Macklin gained an impressive four pounds! Burt continued to recover, and his digestive challenges improved, and as he slowly began to gain weight, his playful and affectionate personality began to show.

When Burt was ready, he returned to the Leslie A. Malone Center, and, almost a month after arriving at the League, the lovable pup found his new family.

James and Karen live in Loveland, and the couple was not intentionally looking for a dog. But, as sometimes happens, fate (or, in this case, Facebook) intervenes. Burt’s foster mom posted about her canine charge on the social media platform, and Karen saw the update and immediately fell in love. “It was his eyes that kept me asking his foster mom questions about him,” said Karen. “I just couldn’t understand why or how anyone could abandon and/or neglect him. His eyes just spoke to me, and I knew that I had to give this beautiful boy the life he deserved. I knew that we could give him his best life! He was a survivor!”

Karen contacted the League, and she and James picked Burt up that very night.

“When we got home and had a chance to really look at Burt, we were shocked at how thin he was.” said Karen. “We were trying to come up with names for Burt, and it wasn’t until we got him home that we said, ‘Poor guy is just skin and bones,’ and that’s when we knew Burt would become Bonz!” (At the time of his adoption, Burt weighed 60.6 pounds.)

“We knew it was going to be a long, slow process to bring Bonz back to 100 percent, but even being with strangers in a new place, his tail was wagging, and he was super snuggly. I knew then that we were meant to be his forever family.”

The couple wasn’t expecting to pick Bonz up from the League so soon and didn’t have a crate big enough for him, nor did they want to leave him alone his first night with them. “We do have a spare bedroom, which my husband and Bonz slept in the first night,” said Karen. “Let’s just say that the spare bed is now Bonz’s spot in the house! We have dog beds in every room for him, but that spare bed his happy place, where he can look out the window at what’s going on outside!”

Bonz shares his new home with Luna, a 4-year-old special needs cat. Luna was the queen of the castle and is still adjusting to her new roommate, so introductions are happening slower.

When Bonz isn’t masquerading as a lap dog and trying to convince his dad that he’s a 100-pound puppy, he enjoys a toy basket full of balls, Kongs, bones and squeakers, but his favorite toys are his rope toys and balls. And, if his Kong is filled with frozen yogurt and kibble, delish! Just like all parents, James and Karen spend their evenings picking up Bonz’s toys from the yard and house. Kids.

As weeks and months have passed, Bonz is no longer skin and bones, and he is a handsome, gentle, healthy boy who brings smiles to everyone he meets.

“I would encourage people interested in an animal to adopt one from a shelter and not buy one from a breeder,” said Karen. “Our last three pets have been shelter animals, and they have been the most amazing pets we have had! Also, know that if you adopt, there is an adjustment period for both the animal and their humans (especially if their history is unknown). Be patient and loving, and the rewards are great! We look forward to watching our boy Bonz enjoy his best life.”

Learn how you can help pets at the Dumb Friends League like Bonz. Visit ddfl.org to see adoptable pets or to make a life saving gift today.