Lancelot’s Story

Lancelot is a 5-year-old Dogo Argentino mix that was dumped at Baldwin Park on March 21. He was a literal skeleton of a dog—weighing just 38 lbs—but his healthy weight should be 70 lbs or more.

He was emaciated and filthy—our volunteers did not even know what color his coat was…. he looked grey, but we thought he should be white. Believe it or not, he was an owner surrender. This person is currently being investigated for animal cruelty in this case.

United Hope for Animals rescue volunteers saw this poor soul suffering in his kennel and pulled him immediately – we were afraid he might not last one more night at the shelter.

He has been rushed to the hospital to receive emergency care. Our volunteers could not believe how sweet and gentle this boy was – despite the horrible condition he was in.

As we were transporting him to the vet after hours, he did not seek out the dog beds we initially put down for him, but rather he preferred to have the gentle touch of a hand stroking his face.

He pushed hard to crawl into one of the volunteers laps, and even though he didn’t appear comfortable maintaining a crouched position, he continued to soak up the first bit of love he had felt in a very long time. Our transport volunteer said it made her think of a puppy seeking out the comfort of its mother.

After some time our volunteer re-arranged the bedding on the bottom of the van so they could both be more comfortable, and she arranged herself around him and covered him in a blanket, and he curled in a little ball and fell fast asleep, knowing he was safe.

Lancelot has endured unfathomable abuse and neglect for his entire 6 years and seen the darkest side of human nature.

It is our goal to give him the life he never had but first we must get him well which will a lot of care which will in turn require donations for his care as well as a foster home that will give him the security and comfort he needs to recover from his ordeal.

Unfortunately, Lancelot’s story is not all that unusual. Too many people see dogs as accessories, tools, status symbols, money-making opportunities, or some kind of creature that is “happy” being tied to a pole and left out in the elements, instead of what they are, companion animals that crave affection, attention, and a little bit of caring.

In this case, the owner claimed he could no longer afford to keep the dog, but why did it take him so long to realize this? Our volunteers believe that if they hadn’t intervened and taken Lancelot for urgent veterinary care that he would not have made it through another night. It defies logic how someone could wait this long before thinking this animal needed more help than its owner could provide.

His case may be more extreme than most, but dogs like him are dropped off daily at shelters across the country. Each person that decides it would be nice to breed their dog and have puppies, or offer their dog for stud, is directly contributing to the pet overpopulation problem, and adding one more dog to an overburdened system that has no other choice but to euthanize the dogs that cannot be placed in homes.

A case like Lancelot’s highlights the need for owner education, and a shift in thinking across the country about how dogs and other animals deserve to be treated.

Fortunately, many people are now pulling for Lancelot and a temporary foster is in place, but he is still waiting for a permanent foster and a forever home to give him the love, attention and shelter he so deserves while he puts on weight and learns that the world can be a better place than what he has seen.

Here is his latest video taken April 2nd. Here is a video of him taken at the shelter.

4/2/11 UPDATE: We got a couple more photos of him today, and wanted to let you know that although he is out of immediate danger, he is still extremely emaciated as you can see from the side view photo below.

He is craving the human touch and affection, and we are seeking a back-up foster and/or forever home for him where he can be the only dog or kept separated from other dogs. He just wants to curl up and sleep, then eat, and then sleep and get petted. All his energy is going to his recovery and putting on weight.

He will likely be like this for the next 3-4 weeks until he can feel something close to normalcy. Until then, we cannot accurately assess what his personality will ultimately turn out to be. Our most important goal at the moment is to find him a quite place where he can get love and affection while he recovers.

We have a supply of food for him that we can provide the foster family so there are no extra expenses associated with his care. So we are asking you, dear friends, to spread the word and see if you can help us find a temporary home for this delicate boy.

As you can see from this image, his image is still shocking, despite the weight gain. Even in photos it is hard to convey the impact of seeing his weakened state first-hand.

4/6/11 UPDATE: Lancelot is currently in a temporary foster home with an angel of a dog lover and is getting an amazing amount of attention, care and love.

His foster mom, Patricia, took him to the vet this morning and he has gained 2.5 pounds since arriving at her place Saturday night. She is being careful not to feed him too much all at once, but small meals more frequently. His schedule is 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. She is feeding him home cooked chicken and rice and is investigating a high quality dog food brand called Orijen that has the high calorie formula he needs.

Patricia’s vet, Dr. Nobe, examined him for 45 minutes this morning, got down on his knees and caressed him gently, saying, “This kid’s had a terrible life. Let’s make sure he gets the very best,” and said because Lancelot is an extreme case it will take him 4-6 months to fully recover.

His gums were found to be very cold, which could mean a thyroid abnormality, and he also has a spinal abnormality and Dr. Nobe is concerned with his back legs. He has a Grade 2 heart murmer and his heart rate is 70 and should be 80-120 so they will do an EKG. They also took X-rays, did a blood panel, a fecal, a pancreas test and gave him a bath and flea treatment.

Patricia now has a large soft bed for him and bought him a fleece type of sweater so he can stay warm as he has no fat on him at all. She’s also going to give him a soft stuffed animal to keep him company as studies have shown that animals who have been abused will gravitate to stuffed animals in search of comfort.

She is also going to start sleeping nearby to keep tabs on him and rub behind his ears when he seems agitated.

4/8/11 Update: Lancelot’s X-rays show some evidence of arthritis and he has dysplasia in his right back leg. The vet, however, says neither of these is a huge concern. He is also anemic, with a lower than normal red blood cell count, but with proper care and nutrition this should eventually normalize. Also, his liver enzymes are not as toxic as expected.

He has a grade 2 heart murmer but this has also been known to normalize with proper care. His ears were flushed and his eyes checked out good. They also scaled lots of tartar from his teeth and he has a broken tooth that will need to be taken care of when he is stronger. He had a bath and seemed to feel much better after arriving home.

His foster said he was galloping around her property, ears flapping, and his incessant pacing had lessened. He’s also shown them the first signs of love, giving one of his fosters a big lick on the face.

The vet things he is 7 or 8 years old. The vet staff are in love with Lancelot and he is becoming quite the celebrity.

4/14/11 Update: Lancelot has shown no agression towards the dogs he has been spending time with over the last couple of days. This is GREAT news! In fact it seems to be that he really enjoys having the company of other dogs and has taken to following a puppy around. He was examined by a neurologist but is still too weak for an MRI so that will have to wait.

His appetite is increasing every day and he is now eating whole cans of dog food without nearly as much coaxing.

His story was picked up by the Examiner online and we hope that his story will be widely circulated not only to help him find a forever home, but to highlight the plight of dogs everywhere, that find themselves in the wrong hands.

So keep your eyes and ears open and share his story with as many people as possible. If you want to help raise money for Lancelot’s care, you may get the embed code from the Chipin on this page. You may also connect with Lancelot admirers on his Facebook Page.

UPDATE 5/5/11: I got to see Lancelot again for the first time since rescuing him that first day and he was as affectionate as ever. I was struck by how thin he still was.

I know all his followers are impatient for him to gain weight but the vet advised early on that it would take at least 6 months for him to get anywhere near a normal weight.

He just wanted to put his heavy head into someone’s lap. I think he’s still so weak it’s hard for him to lug around with his frail body.

It was a beautiful sunny day in the park and I just wanted to stay all day with him under the shade of a big tree and read to him on a soft blanket. He is such a gentle soul and wants nothing more than the quiet, warm embrace of a healing spirit.

Luckily for him, we had a Jin Shin Jyutsu energy healer (gentle laying on of hands) present to give him the healing hands he so craved. This sweet dog went from conditions of near death by starvation to international adoration in a very short time.

We have loads of presents for him that he will be getting as soon as we can get them all open. Thank you to everyone who sent them. We are doing our best to give him the care he needs.

Today I brought him some high calorie nutritional supplements along with a raised dog bowl so it’s easier for him to eat. He still has a hard time sitting and lying down, and his foster mom, Jessica, said that it takes him 20-30 minutes to settle down and be able to relax in any new situation.

I was torn between just wanting to sit with him and wanting to get the best photos possible for all of his fans. So, I ended up taking the photos! Next time I will get some one-on-one time, and I’m so looking forward to it.


A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to help with Lancelot’s care. We are continuing to accept donations for his medical bills, which will likely be higher than we first expected because of his degenerated condition from severe malnutrition and the related problems it creates.

To all who have loved our Lancelot,

With deep sadness and after days of tears and struggling with a reality we did not wish to accept, on the advice of multiple vets, we made the heart wrenching decision to give Lancelot peace and let him go with dignity. We would have done anything to make Lancelot well again – but sadly his condition was terminal, he was suffering and there was no other options left for him.

This may be surprising to some of you because he seemed to have rallied for a couple of weeks.  A volunteer even suggested we think about putting him in his forever home.  However, during the period following the most recent photos, he entered a rapid decline,  he had lost his appetite and finally — he refused to eat all together.  We purchased him is favorite food, freshly roasted chicken and carefully fed it to him by hand,  but we did not get us much as a nibble.  When we went to visit him on Friday he could no longer stand up on his own. When he tried to go to the bathroom, he fell over.

We had him examined by 3 different doctors and begged them all for other options – we had even scheduled an MRI for Monday.  But all 3 doctors told us firmly that he was in pain and would likely no make it through the weekend.  They believe Lancelot was suffering from a fatal brain tumor.  From his first exam to his last, each doctor suspected a neurological problem.  Throughout the time he was with us, he never stopped his pacing, and he stood in the corner – seemingly confused.  He was never well enough for the type of exploratory testing that might be required to determine the cause of his relentless circling.

All of us dreamed of a happy ending for Lancelot, as did his thousands of followers.  We gave him love, affection, the best of care, and his own puppy while he was with us. None of our efforts were able to make him well again. Sadly, sometimes we have to accept that no matter what extraordinary measure we take, god or nature still has other plans.

His passing was peaceful. We took him out onto a grassy area in the sun, and surrounded him with love and tenderness before he went gradually to sleep. I am crying as I write this because I loved him so much and hoped against hope he could make it. But it was his time. We guided him into his next life with love and light around him.

He will never be forgotten and he has touched us all so deeply.  We want to show our most sincere appreciate to everyone who helped this boy.  Through his story and his name – other abandoned, homeless dogs will be able to find loving homes. Our intent is to the portion of the remaining funds to help other sick, injured or abused dogs that are brought into the shelter. This will be Lancelot’s legacy.

Every single day – dogs are dumped in the shelter – and all of them, like Lancelot, deserve a chance at life.  The job of rescue is grueling, challenging and often heartbreaking.  And — happy endings are not guaranteed.  Sometimes you want to quit, but so many other dogs need us that we must continue our work, knowing that without us they would have very little chance of getting out. 

If anyone would like for their donation to be refunded kindly let us know and we will do so. Our goal was to help Lancelot and we got him out of the terrible shelter environment, gave him expert care and love, and when he did not thrive, a peaceful passing. We could not bear to see him suffer any longer, and putting him on a feeding tube so we could run more tests would have been cruel, in all of our minds.

He will forever be in our hearts, the dog with the heart-shaped nose. This time, we loved, and lost. There will be other dogs we cannot save, but many more that we can save, and that is our future, and Lancelot’s legacy.

We love all of you who cared as we did for this amazing dog, and pledge a renewed effort to help in any way we can make life better for the thousands of dogs being born and dying this very minute. We ask that you, too, when you talk of Lancelot, to share important information about spaying and neutering, how to properly care for a dog, or help alleviate suffering when you see it.

Wherever you are, we can guarantee you that there is a dog not far away that needs your help, and it is within your power to help all dogs, just with your voice, and your caring, and your action.

Thank you for fighting this fight with us, and for loving the dogs who need us the most. You are all in our thoughts today, and will always remain Lancelot’s Angels.