PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Police Patrol Officer Caleb McQuaide initially put his hand near the puppies to see if they were friendly.
The two dogs — huddled together — were emaciated, “extremely lethargic” and covered in feces and urine, but they wagged their tails when McQuaide stuck his hand out, he wrote in an email to The Daily News.
McQuaide was one of the officers who responded to the area of Linden Lane on Thanksgiving morning for a report of two puppies on the side of the road, evidently abandoned.
Police nicknamed the dogs Turkey and Gravy.
“Once (Turkey) and (Gravy) entered my patrol vehicle, and felt the heat from the vehicle they quickly became more active and attempted to become playful,” McQuaide said. The pups were transported to Mass-RI Veterinary ER in Swansea, Massachusetts, for immediate care.
Turkey, due to her poor health condition, had to be euthanized later that day. Gravy is slowly regaining her health under the care of the Potter League for Animals, a nonprofit organization in Middletown.
Gravy “is on a special diet to help her gain weight safely and slowly as to not overwhelm her tiny body,” Kara Montalbano, director of marketing and community relations for the Potter League, said in an email on Dec. 2. “When she arrived at the emergency veterinary hospital she was 16 pounds She is up to 19.8 pounds.”
The veterinarian at the Potter League estimates Gravy is about 1 year old, and her ideal weight should be about 30 pounds. She’s listed as a “mixed breed.”
Montalbano said the organization doesn’t know when Gravy will be available for adoption, but it’ll be weeks, most likely.
The Potter League initially offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the neglect and abandonment of the dogs. That reward — given by multiple anonymous donors — has since been increased to $15,500.
The Portsmouth Police Department’s initial Facebook post about Turkey and Gravy on Nov. 29 elicited more than 100 comments and over 1,000 shares.
“This was personally my first animal neglect call in my career,” McQuaide said. “It was the most rewarding feeling seeing the way the pups reacted to some belly rubs and some heat and getting the care they needed.”
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Portsmouth Police Department Detective Division at 401-683-0994 or the general line at 401-683-0300.
This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: Portsmouth RI officer describes his role in rescuing abandoned dogs