Last October, Nika Todua and Irina Liklikadze were walking down a busy street in Rustavi, a city in Eastern European Georgia, when they noticed a small piece of fur on the sidewalk. When they approached, they saw that it was a helpless little puppy.
The puppy, who looked like he was about 1 month old, did not move a muscle — she actually looked dead. But when Todua and Liklikadze, who both volunteer with a dog rescue group called Animal Friends, touched the puppy, they felt his small body move with his shallow breath.
«It was shocking because she was so weak and sentenced to death,» Todua told The Dodo. «She was hungry, thirsty and had a lot of worms… and she was very docile.
Rescuers picked up the puppy before he was hit by a car, which is a common fate for dogs in Rustavi, Todua explained. The animal was too small and too young to be alone, so they hoped to find the puppy’s mother – but when they spoke to some locals, they learned the sad story of the puppy.
«We were told that the mother of this little puppy had been hit by a car,» Todua said. «We don’t know what happened to his siblings.»
The women brought the puppy home with them, began to treat his malnutrition and parasites, and tried to make him eat food. At the time, she only weighed about half a pound, so she desperately needed to gain weight.
They called her E.T. after the movie of the same name – because, in their opinion, she looked more like an alien than a puppy.
But with each passing day, E.T. became stronger and healthier — and she began to look more like a puppy than an alien. And nine months later, E.T. had roughly quadrupled in size and weight, and now she’s living a very different life than she was when she started on the street.
«She lives with one of the members of our organization,» Todua said. «She loves to play, walk and eat. It’s funny, but she loves to eat cucumber and pumpkin. He is a very happy puppy.
Todua helps save and feed many stray dogs every year, but E.T.’s story has remained close to his heart.
«The most uplifting and emotional thing about this rescue was his transformation from a weak, poor puppy into a happy dog,» Todua said.