ZIB, a 1-year-old border collie’s early life was filled with neglect. He was languishing in a shelter in Claremore, Oklahoma. He was formerly known as Kong and was suffering from a painful skin disease and a sunburn so bad that he could not be touched. His white fur was patchy in places, with shocks of bright pink skin showing through.
the sweet puppy was taken in by Border Collie Rescue & Rehab in Prosper, Texas, and nursed back to health. That’s when Kong took on a new moniker, becoming known as #387 on the rescue’s website.
Curtis Hartsell didn’t need a name to fall for the little white dog with the big smile and curious eyes.
“I looked through his profile and just immediately fell in love with his single picture and the description they put on the page,” Hartsell said. “His foster mom described his temperament and personality and I described my life to her a bit and she said we sounded perfect for each other.”
Hartsell is a cyber threat intelligence analyst with a credit bureau based out of Little Elm, Texas. He was worried his active lifestyle wouldn’t fit with owning a dog but something told him everything would work out, so he submitted an application.
“I asked for daily updates through the adoption process and felt as if he were mine from the very beginning and these people were just helping us get reunited,” Hartsell added.
After several home visits, Hartsell’s application was approved, and the day finally came for the two to meet for the very first time. That is when Hartsell decided to change the dog’s name from Kong/#387 to ZIB, in honor of a famous Soviet space dog.
“The original was just a lost dog running around base that they sent to space for a successful flight,” Hatsell explained. “I felt this was fitting for my ZIB because he was just a lost dog until someone picked him up and helped nurture him back to health. Now he and I are off to the stars together!”
Hartsell arrived at ZIB’s foster house, and a friend managed to capture a picture of the powerful moment that the lost dog was finally found.
“I was handed his leash … I got down in front of him and gave him his new name and asked if he wanted to come home with me,” Hartsell recounted. “‘ZIB, I’m going to call you ZIB. Do you like that? How would you like to come home with me, ZIB?’ He was sitting in front of me, looked into my eyes and then hugged me and bowed his head. It was adorable; I’ll never forget that moment.”
The puppy who was once in so much pain, couldn’t be happier in his new home with his loving dad. Despite his early worries, having ZIB around has improved Hartsell’s life exponentially.
“I cannot even begin to describe how much happier and fulfilled I feel,” Hartsell said. “Knowing that this poor puppy was once neglected and all he wanted was to be loved — and that I get to give him that love every day now, it’s incredible.”
“I truly feel saved by him and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him,” he said. “Our lives revolve around each other now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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