-- Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need

Surviving a Rough Start

From a very early age, a small dog – later dubbed G.I. Joe – led a life of misery and neglect. For better or worse, large portions of his past remain a mystery.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
But a few dark details are clear. In his younger years, Joe was hit by an oncoming car. While he miraculously managed to survive the ordeal, he lost nearly all feeling in his back legs.

Horrible First Owner

Not willing to care for a disabled dog, Joe’s first owner had wanted to brutally dispose of him with a hammer.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
Luckily, a second person stepped in and took Joe away from his would-be executioner. Unfortunately, owner #2 was hardly equipped to take care of the little dog.

In the Streets

Unwilling to make the commitment necessary to raising a pet, Joe’s wounds went untreated. Eventually, the person that once whisked him out of harm’s way instead left him on the streets to die.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
 Alone in the world, Joe was forced to drag himself around by his front paws to find food.

Rescued at Last

Life as an able-bodied stray can be harsh. It’s difficult to know just how much the tenacious little dog struggled as he wandered through the streets of his city.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
Just as things were looking grim, a new human stumbled into Joe’s life to lend a helping hand.

Unusual Way of Walking

Joe managed to catch the eye of a good Samaritan, who was immediately concerned by the dogs unusual way of “walking”.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
She took some photographs of the wounded animal and immediately contacted animal rescuer Alison Smith.


Along with her husband, Steve, Alison headed the Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue (THMHR) for years.

Right away, Alison offered the pooch a place to heal at her non-profit animal sanctuary.

Finding Sanctuary

Eleven years ago, the North Dakota sanctuary opened its doors to horses in need. However, in the past decade, THMHR has opened its doors to a plethora of species.

In fact, over 500 animals have found a home at THMHR. Companion animals and livestock alike live happily among the ground’s pastures.  

Taking Care

The charity doesn’t stop short of aiding abandoned animals. It also specializes in caring for creatures of all shapes and sizes suffering from a gamut of disabilities.

So, when the kind stranger first spotted Joe back in 2015, Smith immediately came to mind as the person equipped to make things right.

Finding the Former Owner

But before she was willing to take on Joe’s case, Smith insisted that the woman find a way to get in contact with Joe’s former owner. Needless to say, the thought of talking to the person behind the animal’s pitiful state was a bit intimidating.

Understandably, the stranger was initially scared to confront Joe’s old owner. But, ultimately, she did manage to muster up the courage to confront him. When she had the chance to talk about Joe’s condition and past experiences, the stranger was shocked by the owner’s callous attitude.

Confronting Neglect Head-On

According to him, he simply didn’t want to take care of Joe anymore. Even having spent over a year with the little dog, the owner simply stopped caring about Joe’s health and wellness and decided that life would be easier without him.

The owners months of neglect took a toll on Joe. Since he had never received veterinary care, Joe had to drag around his rear end to get around at all. By the time he was found, Smith says, “he was just blood and pus”. His bottom half was rubbed raw. Doctors ultimately were forced to remove Joe’s back paws.

A Long, Painful Recovery

When Smith got ahold of Joe, the first thing they did was rush to the nearest vet clinic. Once they arrived, they were informed that Joe would need to stay with them for a 6 week healing and observation period. His bottom half was covered with wounds, after all. If they didn’t improve, Joe faced the possibility of further amputation or, in the worst case scenario, euthanasia.

Against all odds, G.I. Joe’s physical wounds began to heal over. The risk of further surgery passed. But the road to recovering his faith in humans had only just begun.


Having spent so much time living on his own, Joe was almost feral when Smith first took him in. She struggled to change Joe’s dressings, as the chihuahua would not let her anywhere near him.

At one point, she had to muzzle him just to administer the medical care he so badly needed. But Smith wasn’t going to give up on the animal so easily.

The Healing Process Begins

With a lot of time and patience, Joe learned to let his guard down. In fact, the Smiths discovered that Joe was actually quite an affectionate dog.

At the sanctuary, G.I. Joe finally had the a safe place to socialize with humans and animals alike. He eventually became one of the friendliest faces at THMHR.

Charming Personality

As he warmed up, Joe’s big personality began to come out. He began romping around with others and playing with toys.

He also entertained himself by dragging rugs around the Smith’s house. Naturally, they adored him.

A Gentle Soul Revealed

One day, Joe had the opportunity to meet with a young, blind donkey who had also found refuge at THMHR. Instantly, the unlikely duo formed a strong bond.

Joe would try to sneak under the donkey’s fence to visit. Amazingly, the donkey seemed to find comfort in an animal a fraction of her size.

True Potential 

Smith then realized Joe’s true potential. He had a gift for comforting those in need that didn’t quite fit in. As the years passed, his social skills continued to improve and his caring nature became increasingly evident.

As a result, THMHR assembled a group of its disabled animals, dubbed the Compassion Crew. Needless to say, Joe became one of the most prominent members of the crew.

The Compassion Crew Unites

The goal of the Compassion Crew is to teach children to treat others the way they’d like to be treated. In Smith’s eyes, even those who are different deserve kindness and care.

As she speaks to groups of kids, she explains that every member of the crew shows empathy and compassion – despite their physical shortcomings.

Meeting New Friends

Other members of THMHR’s Compassion Crew include a blind cat named Mowgli and Max the one-eyed dog. Smith acts as their human representative, taking her animals to local schools to meet with groups of children.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
Her hope is that her visits encourage young people to keep an open mind and be kind to others.

Helping People in Need

Smith explains, “If you would not want to hurt this animal, why would you want to hurt a person with the same disability?” With a concise point, it’s clear that her work with the Compassion Crew is making an impact.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
The Crew receives tons of fan mail, revealing that their lessons have resonated far beyond their short visits.


In particular, Joe receives a lot of praise from admirers. Inspired by his journey and his spirit, he’s garnered the attention of people near and far. One woman has even suggested that G.I. Joe should stand for Great Inspiration.
Disabled Dog Given Second Chance Life, Spreads Hope for Children in Need
Considering everything he’s overcome, it’s hard to argue that Joe is anything less than a G.I. Bouncing back from the brink of death, he’s devoted his second chance to showing other’s just how beautiful life can be.  

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