Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

It may be hard to watch this viral video that shows the harsh reality of animal neglect. Harold was skin and bone when he was found wandering the streets in North Oshawa in Ontario, Canada. But now is thriving and just like any other puppy—thanks to his foster carer.

Kayleigh McGovern, a volunteer and team member at Oshawa Animal Services, decided to look after the emaciated dog who was too weak to even walk back in July. She documented his progress and shared a slideshow of images on her TikTok page.

Kathy Pittman-Feltham, the shelter manager told Newsweek: “Harold quickly captured all of our hearts and we were rooting for him to get healthy and find his forever home.”

Stray dog's transformation
On the left, Harold looks skeletal and on the right, his body appears completely different. In six days, he made a remarkable recovery and didn’t seem to be the same dog.
Kayleigh Mcgovern/@kayleigh_mcgovern

In the viral video that has 791,800 views, @kayleigh_mcgovern added on-screen text to explain each image. She stated he spent the first three days in bed and he didn’t have the strength to empty his bladder.

She wrote: “We shared many cuddles, watched lots of shows, and most importantly he got lots of rest.”

One image shows Harold’s skeletal body as the on-screen text explains: “This picture is still so jarring to look at. He was examined at the vet for possible causes of his emaciation. The vets concluded the only thing wrong with him was that he was essentially starving to death.”

After a few days of tender love and care, Harold started to feel stronger and became playful. Now four months on, he is just like any other puppy.

Pittman-Feltham told Newsweek: “Kayleigh helped nurse him back to health and he was then adopted by a member of the community who is a second-time adopter from us.

“He is doing phenomenal and is the perfect picture of health.”

Harold’s remarkable transformation has touched the hearts of thousands of TikTok users. But sadly, his situation wasn’t a rare case.

Foster carer
Kayleigh McGovern can be seen cuddling Harold ahead of his adoption.
Kathy Pittman-Feltham/Oshawa Animal Services

Each year 6.3 million pets are surrendered to U.S. shelters, which is an average of 17,260 a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Around 920,000 surrendered animals are euthanized every year. Shelters are striving to minimize euthanasia rates by promoting adoption campaigns, spaying and neutering programs, and behavior rehabilitation.

Pittman-Feltham told Newsweek: “We see many sad cases come through our doors and the team is always excited to be a part of the next chapter in their story as most times we don’t have any information on their past.

“We are hoping Harold’s story shines a light on the many cases across the rescue world that need our help.

“Fostering saves lives and Harold is a perfect example of that!”

Update 11/08/23, 9:55 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to amend Kayleigh McGovern’s role at the shelter.

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