Abused Dogs Comfort One Another While Being Treated in Animal Clinic: The 'Understanding Between Animals Is Beyond Me'

Abused Dogs Comfort One Another While Being Treated in Animal Clinic: The 'Understanding Between Animals Is Beyond Me'

It's a shocking photo – two puppies, marred by abuse and disease – made sweeter by the unexpected moment at its center: One is comforting the other, in a "perfect example" of the compassion animals feel for one another.

Rescue Dogs Rock NYC says two of its young dogs, Sammie and Simon, have formed a special bond after Sammie was recently brought in to Paws & Claws Animal Clinic in South Carolina for treatment in critical condition.

Both animals were "saved from different shelters in South Carolina" and brought in to the Columbia clinic for treatment, according toRescue Dogs Rock NYC.

Simon, a roughly 1-year-old mixed-breed who has mange (a skin disease caused by mites), came Monday night to comfort Sammie, a roughly 5-month-old boxer mix who had been through a nightmare of his own – shot in the head, dragged behind a car and spray-painted, leaving at least one of his back legs crushed, according to the rescue and the clinic.

(Simon was dropped off at a South Carolina shelter as a stray, which means there will be no investigation into his abuse, according to the rescue.)

Paws & Claws owner Dr. Mike Sauer tells PEOPLE that Sammie has only been at the clinic for about a week, while Simon has been there for several weeks.

Dr. Sauer says the clinic tries to socialize the animals, especially the puppies. "When we let Simon out of the cage, he went straight to Sammie," he says.

"Last night Simon came in to check on Sammie and see how he was feeling...." the rescue captioned the photo of the two, in a Tuesday Facebook post. "Sammie accepted [Simon's] soft touch and was grateful for the love and affection that Simon showed him."

And Simon continued to check on Sammie. "The bond between these 2 continues to grow," the rescue wrote with a Thursday photo of both puppies. "Both know they are safe and rescued."

"The compassion and understanding between animals is beyond me," Jackie O'Sullivan, cofounder of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, told The Dodo.

Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, a non-profit supported by donations, has raised more than $18,000 for Sammie's medical care, as of this writing. Both he and Simon are expected to survive, Sauer says.

While Simon's treatment course is long, he is "doing great" – gaining weight, his skin improving, Sauer says.

Sammie, who Sauer is personally fostering while he is being treated, isn't "out of the woods with infection" but is responding really well to treatment. The question now is how his back leg, the bone ground down after he was dragged by a vehicle, will fare.

The timeline for his release and adoption depends on that question, Sauer says.

It could have been worse, though: Sauers says it's "basically a miracle" Sammie survived a gunshot to his head, since the bullet, likely a .22 caliber, didn't pierce his skull.

Word of his recovery has spread fast and far, Sauer says: Paws & Claws has had large reactions to the stories of its rescue dogs, but "probably not this big."