Abandoned Detroit dog becomes social media darling
Detroit — While scrolling through social media, Dustin Oliver caught an alarming post: a loyal pit bull waiting by the curb of an abandoned Detroit home for its owners to return.
“I saw it by chance. I was going through my (Facebook) feed. I thought ‘oh, my God,’ ” said Oliver, aka “Mike Diesel,” founder of Detroit Youth & Dog Rescue. “I saw a picture of a dog in need and I headed out the door within five minutes.”
When he pulled up at the house near Six Mile and Wyoming, Oliver snapped a photograph of the abandoned pup, believed to be an American pit bull terrier mix now named “Boo,” curled atop a mattress among a pile of discarded furniture.
The story of the dog’s discovery and rescue has gone viral, spurring inquires from news outlets and pet lovers around the globe. He’s also the inspiration for a Sunday fundraiser being hosted by Oliver’s nonprofit in Detroit’s Greektown.
“I’ve never gotten hundreds of emails about one dog before,” he said Monday.
The “That’s my BOO Fundraiser” will take place from 3-8 p.m. at the Firebird Tavern, 419 Monroe, in Boo’s honor and to raise money for other dogs like him as well as the group’s other programs.
“Boo just tugs at your soul. He was committed to waiting for them to come back,” he said. “That’s why Boo was staying close to the belongings and the mattress he possibly slept on and the smells he was comfortable with and knew.”
Oliver spent nearly two days building trust with Boo after first approaching the dog Oct. 16. Eventually, Oliver got a leash around Boo’s neck and took him to a nearby animal hospital where he was diagnosed with heart worm. The dog remains under treatment for the condition but moved to a foster home in Detroit on Saturday to continue his recovery.
Neighbors, Oliver said, had been feeding Boo daily and had stories about the dog and how long he’d been alone. Some told Oliver Boo’s owners had been gone about a month. Others reported the belongings of the evicted tenants had been out front for just over a week.
The nonprofit youth and dog rescue was established in April 2014 and so far has saved about 80-100 dogs that have been placed with foster groups. The group, Oliver said, also serves the city’s homeless, provides holiday dinners for the needy and youth mentorship services.
Oliver said he’s spent close to $1,000 so far for Boo’s care. The dog will be returning to the vet in the coming weeks for another round of treatments. The dog won’t likely be ready for his formal adoption for about six months, Oliver said.
“He’s stable and happy, but he is sick,” Oliver said.
For information on the fundraiser or to donate, visit the group’s Facebook page.