Hal, the 'Walking Skeleton' Who Was Tied to a Tree for Days, Recovers and Finds His New Family

·3 min read
starving dog left tied to tree adopted
starving dog left tied to tree adopted

Courtesy of Main Line Animal Rescue

When Hal arrived at Main Line Animal Rescue in April he looked like, as the rescue put it, a "walking skeleton."

You could point out each of his ribs. His large head was sunken, and he was covered in sores after he'd spent days starving, tied to a tree in Philadelphia. He weighed only a little more than half his healthy weight.

And yet, he was somehow so excited to see everyone, says Alicia Royer, DVM, a veterinarian at Main Line. He was trying to wag his injured tail and give out kisses. So it's no wonder Hal was adopted as soon as he was eligible this past weekend.

"He's the type of dog you can't not love," Royer tells Daily Paws.

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Hal Was in 'Dire' Shape

Hal arrived at Main Line on April 28 after he was first treated at the Pennsylvania SPCA. A concerned person in Philadelphia had found him tied to a tree on Easter morning (April 17), and the SPCA's human law enforcement team freed him from the tree.

The staff there tended to him quickly to stabilize him, clean his wounds, and get him some food. The tip of his damaged tail fell off, and he only weighed 43 pounds. He also became ill, likely because he'd eaten numerous animal bones to try to stay alive, Royer says.

Hal was so emaciated that he'd lost pretty much all his fat and muscle, and Royer measured him at 1 on the body condition score, the most severe rating. It's unlikely he would've survived much longer tied to the tree.

"I think it was very dire," Royer says. " … I don't know if I was expecting that."

Just over a week later, he arrived at Main Line.

Hal the Goofball Finds a Home

Hal, who Royer thinks is about 3–5 years old, started a strict refeeding program so he could bulk back up while his ever-happy nature continued to serve him well.

Royer and the rescue's vet staff couldn't save his tail—the wound had exposed a bone—so they had to amputate it. But when Hal woke up from the surgery, he was wiggling the little nub he had left.

"Just the happiest dog," Royer says.

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The goofy boy likes playing with toys and enjoys meeting other dogs, so much so that he would do little hops with his front feet when he saw other pups. Toward the end of his stay, the staff discovered he likes playing with water in a baby pool.

Hal—originally short for Hallelujah—had reached a much-healthier 76 pounds by the start of June and was soon ready for adoption, Royer says. His new owner had kept track of his story since his arrival at Main Line and told the rescue she wanted to adopt the big-headed love bug as soon as he was healthy.

After meeting his new family, he was ready for his new home—with a big smile on his face.