Watkins: A story of hope

7 Jun

The online basset world has been buzzing lately with the story of Watkins.

About a month ago, the president of the Buchanan County (Virginia) Humane Society, Stephanie,  was contacted by a neighbor about an abused and abandoned dog who had been dumped in a ditch. Stephanie and her husband went out looking and, when they finally found him, rushed him to their vet.


Although this picture looks idyllic, the dog was in terrible shape and the vet, Dr. Rasnake, felt he might be near death. She estimated the puppy to be approximately 4 months old and a  basset- walker hound mix. They got him on an IV and admitted him to the Buchanan County Humane Society’s ICU. They named him Watkins, after the street where he was found


and started sharing his story. Law enforcement was contacted and the investigation is ongoing.

Watkins has not had an easy time. He had to have emergency surgery for a twisted bowel. He is still on a feeding tube because he is not yet interested in food. But he continues to heal. His FB fans all over the world celebrated when he finally pooped. He spent a few days at the Virginia Tech vet hospital, but has returned to the Buchanan County Humane Society’s ICU. People are finally starting to use the words “full recovery”, though he still has a long road of healing ahead of him.

 Here he is yesterday, with Stephanie.


I deliberately chose to post few pictures of Watkins. You can click on his name above to see his FB page that show pictures of his progress. You might be horrified at how he looks today, but know that he looks so very much better than he did a month ago.

Watkins has FB friends all over the world now. He also has huge vet bills. Fortunately the vets looking after him are not talking about the bills. They are more concerned with saving this little man. If you would like to follow Watkin’s story, you can do so through his FB page, which Stephanie updates regularly.  You can also help by making a donation online HERE or you can donate directly by mail:  Buchanan Co. Humane Society C/O Watkins PO Box 2611 Grundy, Va 24614.

With all the horrible things going on in the world the life of one puppy might not seem like much. I often worry that my dogs have better health care than many people around the world. Watkins is certainly getting more help than many people. Some people might question why so many people care about Watkins when so many people suffer. It is true that many problems in the world deserve our time and energy. Maybe by reaching out to help a puppy we can soften our hearts to the point where we reach out and help humans as well as animals.

So think about it. If you can’t help Watkins, what can you do to help someone, or something that needs help closer to home. What time, talents or treasures do you have that you can use to help alleviate suffering somewhere in this world.

7 Responses to “Watkins: A story of hope”

  1. Stephanie Smith-Justus June 7, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Your blog entry is perfect. That is the message I hope everyone gets from Watkins’ story. In animal rescue, I’ve quickly learned that you can’t save them all. But when you save one – you make a difference not only for that dog but for all living things. I also hope his story will make a difference in the way people think about animal abandonment,neglect and abuse. It’s something that happens in your neighborhood and in your community. If you don’t help Watkins…help someone or something somewhere. Choose to make a difference somewhere.

  2. Karen Austin June 7, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    This is a story of perseverance, loyalty, commitment, and love. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide who I am talking about. Maybe it’s Watkins. Maybe it’s Ms. Smith-Justus. Maybe it’s the medical personnel. Maybe it’s the people who have donated. Maybe it’s the people who have prayed for Watkin’s to live during his extreme medical emergencies. And, maybe it’s all of them. Maybe it’s all of us. Find your cause. Do what you can.

    • Stephanie Smith-Justus June 7, 2015 at 7:35 am #


  3. LINDA MCCRAY June 7, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    May God Bless. All who help those in need and people like Stephanie who care God Bless Watkins

  4. Bronwyn Davies June 7, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    God and the universe see all of the wonderful things that you do, Stephanie. Praying for Watkins continued improvement. Can’t wait to see him well and living life as a beloved pet.

  5. Donna Potter June 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    We cannot make a difference to all dogs or all people but we can all make a difference to one suffering human or animal. Your blog entry is great!

  6. joann hulquist June 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Love your post

    Sent from my iPhone

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