Happy Tail: The Westie was half-starved

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Jeanette Matlock’s two West Highland Terriers had passed away, and she missed them, so she’d been looking on Petfinder for one to adopt. One day she was driving home from work and saw a sign in front of a church that read, “When one door closes, another opens.” Thinking about her dogs, she asked, “When?”

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Read Teddy’s story in his adopter Jeanette Matlock’s own words.

“When” turned out to be the very next morning. The Tampa Bay woman saw a sickly 9-year-old Westie listed on Petfinder by Tampa’s Hillsborough County Animal Services, an open-admission facility that takes in all the strays brought to its doors. She knew that Teddy might face euthanasia given his age, his poor health, and the fact that the shelter might be overcrowded.

“I had to save him,” Jeanette says.


When she went to the shelter, Teddy was so sick that the staff couldn’t let her in to see him. They took her name and she went home and waited.

About two weeks later, she got the call that told her Teddy was available. She and her husband went to meet him. “He was so beaten down and sick he barely looked at us. I lifted his chin and I could see potential in those sad little eyes,” she says.

Teddy had a skin disease that left him hairless, with black skin and a bad smell. He had a respiratory infection and yeast infections in both ears. He was half starved, his ribs showing and his teeth rotten.

Today Teddy is a new dog. His hair has come back, his rotten teeth have been removed and his others cleaned, and he has put on weight.

“He has grown to be a Mommy’s boy and follows me everywhere,” Jeanette says. “I love him very much and other than eating, he loves nothing better than cuddling with me.”

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