Two cops on patrol in Anniston, Alabama, noticed something unusual about a puppy by the side of the road. It didn’t appear to have any tags, and it looked extremely unhealthy.
As they got closer, The Dodo reports, they noticed its head was extremely swollen due to injuries on its neck, head, and shoulders. They later learned that these are injuries consistent with dog-fighting, and it’s possible the puppy was used as a “bait dog.”
The officers tried to get closer, but the dog, clearly frightened, attempted to run away. His wounds prevented him from running quickly or in a straight path, however, and the officers soon caught up with him.
Upon learning that an animal control officer was not available, Officers Matthew Preuninger and Brian Scott scooped up the puppy and got him to an animal hospital. A veterinarian said that if they hadn’t found the 10-week-old puppy when they did, he may not have made it, The Anniston Star reports.
It took Preuninger’s wife one look at the pit bull puppy to know that the dog, now named “Phil,” had just found his forever home.
“It was our mission at that time that Phil was OK, and the more we interacted with the vet and his staff, the more Phil was a part of our lives,” Preuninger said.
Phil had two other rescue dogs and a cat already waiting at home to greet him.
Phil has adapted nicely to his new life, and though sometimes he’s “haunted by his nightmares” and whimpers or barks in his sleep, The Dodo reports, he’s found comfort in his new family.