A senior Basset Hound in North Carolina escaped her “horrific” conditions, then helped lead officials back to her home to find 36 other dogs, a chicken, and a cat who were also safely rescued, according to the shelter that took the dog in. Rescuers appropriately named the 10-year-old basset hound “Hero,” and gave her the last name “Salvare” — which means “to save and protect.”

An animal control officer first found Hero wandering along an area road. After picking her up, the officer drove to the address on her ID tag where the property’s door was open with several animals “spilling out,” Judy Sims, Director of the Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County, a small non-profit rescue, told Lady Freethinker in an interview.

“Some were in small cages, some sleeping on feces in beds, some had injuries, several were emaciated. They were filthy. Most had medical issues,” Sims added.

The Humane Society of Concord took in 15 of the dogs, including Hero. Several area rescues helped take in most of the others, and members of the community stepped up to help cover medical and other expenses. Fortunately, many of the animals have since been adopted — including Hero.

“Hero’s condition was poor when we first laid eyes on her: visible bones under dull dirty fur and skin, overgrown nails that twisted over one another to the point walking was difficult, and a horrible bladder infection,” the Humane Society posted on Facebook. She also tested positive for heartworms and is undergoing slow-kill heartworm treatment due to her advanced age. Despite Hero’s health condition, Sims stressed that “she’s is a happy-go-lucky girl and has a great home now.”

Several of the other animals are still being fostered, receiving medical care, and looking for forever homes, including Dave — who was in the worst condition of the dogs the Humane Society group took in — with horrific leg sores that needed constant treatment.

“He is so very sweet and was so tolerant of what we were doing to him. All he wanted was to give kisses and get love,” Sims told Lady Freethinker, reminding us of the resilience these animals have. “It’s hard to put into words how we were affected by these dogs. The impact they had on our hearts was nothing short of heart wrenching.”

Lady Freethinker applauds Hero for her bravery, the animal control officers who found the neglected animals, the Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County and other rescues/fosters who stepped in to help, and the compassionate community members who have provided support for all the animals rescued from this apparently neglectful situation.

For another heartwarming rescue story, read Kitten Stuck in Mineshaft Saved by Family Dog.