Local dog featured in national magazine

Achmed, a pit-bull mix who was taken into custody by Mesa County Animal Services, has found a home with a new owner and has been renamed Gary. The dog became a lobby greeter at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. His skin ailment has improved since he was adopted.

A Grand Junction pooch rescued by Mesa County Animal Services and sent to a Utah animal sanctuary appears in the pages of that sanctuary’s national magazine this month.

Pit-bull mix Achmed was impounded nearly a year ago after an Animal Services officer helped respond to a law enforcement call involving Achmed’s now-former owner. The dog had obvious skin problems and was found on a blanket covered in his own blood, according to Mesa County Animal Services Director Penny McCarty.

“He was in terrible shape. He could barely stand up,” McCarty said.

He was immediately checked out by a veterinarian and diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection. It was later discovered he had an autoimmune disease that affected his skin.

Scaly patches on his snout are still noticeable in pictures of a playful Achmed in the March/April edition of Best Friends magazine, the national publication of Kanab, Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society. Achmed was accepted last summer to move to Best Friends after six weeks of recuperation in Mesa County.

The magazine is sent to anyone who donates at least $25 to Best Friends and past editions can be viewed online at bestfriends.org.

The magazine profile on Achmed details his medical journey and how his personality blossomed during nine months of care at Best Friends. His friendly nature with both other dogs and humans prompted the shelter to give him a few privileges, according to Lezlie Sage, a Best Friends liaison who helps connect shelters in Colorado and six other states with the no-kill sanctuary in Kanab.

Achmed became a lobby greeter at Best Friends and got to go on sleep-overs with volunteers. One of those volunteers adopted Achmed about a month ago, moved to Cape Cod and renamed him Gary.

His former owner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for not taking him to a vet.

McCarty said it’s likely Achmed, now Gary, will always need medication. But considering the condition he was in and how positive and responsive he has been to people throughout treatment, McCarty said she expects him to live a happy life on the East Coast.

“It’s a real success story,” McCarty said.


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