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Dog Survives 7 Years in Desert


LOS ANGELES — For seven painful, lonely years, “Herc’s” home was the barren Southwest desert. Comfort was a discarded old sofa under the blistering sun. On a good day, the suffering black dog might find a pile of trash to scavenge for food. Good days, however, were few and far between. By the time the D.E.L.T.A. Rescue ( team found Herc, he was simply waiting to die.

Starving, ravaged by mange and in pain from a fractured leg, Herc was too weak to resist his rescuers. At the organization’s hospital, Leo Grillo, an actor and lifelong animal activist who founded the non-profit over 30 years ago, looked into Herc’s eyes and knew the dog had brought him a message: No matter how exhausting the work is, or how bitter are the legal battles fought to maintain the 30-year-old sanctuary, Grillo must keep fighting on behalf of desperate animals like Herc, who are abandoned in the wilderness.

“Herc is a prime example of the animals D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is able to help,” Grillo stated. “Herc might be an extreme case, but we regularly come across dogs and cats in desperate shape who have been tossed out into the deserts and forests of the Southwest, and left to starve to death. Over 1,500 of these souls receive love and care daily at our sanctuary.”

Only a few weeks later, Herc bears no physical resemblance to the dog who encouraged Grillo to continue his work, despite ever-increasing legal battles. Herc will always bear a scar on his shoulder from the blow of an axe or shovel. He may yet lose his broken right hind leg. But his coat has returned, nutritious food has put healthy weight on his body, and perhaps for the first time, he is being loved.

Herc is alive today solely because of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue’s work. The organization’s SuperSanctuary — a 94-acre oasis of safety outside Los Angeles — is the largest no-kill, care-for-life sanctuary in the world. And D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is the only organization in existence dedicated to saving former pets abandoned and left to die in the wilderness.

“D.E.L.T.A. Rescue receives no help from the government and relies solely on private contributions,” Grillo said. “We hope people will hear Herc’s story, see his transition and be inspired to continue in their own daily struggle for survival in these difficult times.”

To learn more about Herc and the work of the 501(c)(3) D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, visit the organization’s Web site at Those interested in supporting D.E.L.T.A. Rescue’s ongoing mission can donate directly from the Web site, over the phone or via postal mail.


 Delta Rescue

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