GALLATIN COUNTY, Ky. -- The Owen Electric Company made a routine stop at a rural Gallatin home where power had been shut off for some time when a worker found a nearly dead doberman lying on the ground in a pen in the back of the home.
Tim Wilhoite, an Owen Electric worker, says he was sent to the home for an assessment due to lack of activity on the home's meter for over four weeks. He was checking the premises when he found an emaciated red doberman, curled up in the fetal position, barley able to lift her head above the overgrown grass, according to Wilhoite.
Wilhoite says he called Animal Control and gave them specific directions on the fastest way to reach the home. He grabbed some food he had in his truck to feed her then stayed with her until rescuers arrived at the home. Shelter members praise the Wilhoite for going "above and beyond" his duties.
"There was water around, but only because it just rained," Wilhoite said. "There was no food, no empty bowls. You could tell she had been lying in the same spot for days - it took everything she had to lift her head."
A Gallatin Shelter rescue volunteer, Robin Costello, said this was one of the most heartbreaking cases the shelter has seen.
"When I arrived at the house, I was afraid to pick (the dog) up" Costello said. "We had to find a make-shift stretcher to transport her." Costello also said that had someone not found her that day, she would be dead.
Kokoro, renamed by the shelter meaning "heart" in Japanese, is expected to make a full recovery. Kokoro has been in rehabilitation for about two weeks and she has stood up on all four legs, even after vets thought she would never be able to stand again on her hind legs.
Dr. Parker, of the Carroll County Animal Clinic, was with Kokoro her first night in care. He said she would have died had she been left at that home any longer. Dr. Parker went on to say that her flea infestation was out of control, she has no muscle mass and her protein levels were so low that they were undetectable in blood tests.
"We rate animals on a one to nine body condition scale, nine being thick as mud and unhealthy and one being skinny and unhealthy. She was a one, she was skin and bones."
Kokoro is doing well and has recently been placed in a loving foster home until she is healthy enough to be adopted.
There has been no word on the whereabouts of the owners.
Both the Gallatin Shelter and the Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) have accumulated medical bills due to care for Kokoro. Both organizations say they are accepting donations to help with the bills. For further information, visit their websites.