Columbo is one puppy who knows the meaning of “roughing it” in life (no pun intended), but he also just might be the luckiest puppy on the planet!
In early July of 2018, Columbo was just a 5-month-old puppy who, back then, didn’t even have a name.
The irresistibly adorable pup was a stray without a family or shelter; roaming the streets of Columbus, Georgia in search of food and safety, and a warm body to love.
Just when it seemed this curious dog had hit rock-bottom, though, his life was suddenly about to change, and it all started with a man taking a bicycle ride.
Christopher Dixon decided to go on a group bicycle ride together with a friend and fellow cyclist, Jarett Little, who normally rides his bicycle with a faster group.
The fact that Dixon and Little were riding together that day is just one of several fateful incidents that laid the groundwork for the luckiest day of Columbo’s life.
While on their ride together, Dixon slowed to a stop near the sewage plant, Columbus Water Works, on South Lumpkin Road near Oxbow Meadows, where the cyclist noticed what he thought was a fox.
In an interview with the local news outlet, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Dixon recalls his initial reaction to seeing the puppy and the sorry state he was in.
“At first, I thought it was a fox. Then this dog started running across the road toward us. He looked terrible. He was hungry. He was in bad shape, but he seemed happy to see us.”
Jarrett Little, Dixon’s riding partner, was at first perplexed by Dixon’s choice to stop, then immediately understood after seeing poor Columbo, who was covered with road rash and was clearly injured.
Lacking anything that could be considered dog food, the cyclists emptied their energy gummies onto the pavement so the puppy could get at least some kind of nutrients.
The scrawny stray was so happy to have food, he inhaled it without a second thought.
Then they got down to the business of figuring out how they were going to help this sweet puppy out.
Lumpkin is a rural road in Georgia that sits near the Oxbow Meadows wildlife refuge, where all manner of dangers lurk for an injured young, starving puppy, and Little recalls how he and Dixon were worried about how they were going to get the puppy, who they were calling Sprocket, all the way back to town.
“We couldn’t leave him. Out there where he was next to Oxbow, he was going to end up alligator food. … In my head, it was, ‘We’re saving you from that now, we will figure out the rest later.’”
After struggling to ride with the Great Dane mixed pup in his lap on his bike for a few minutes, Little decided to slip the puppy’s back paws into the pockets on the back of his riding shirt and pull his front paws over his shoulders so that he could give him a piggyback ride for the long 7 miles into downtown Columbus.
No one was expecting what happened next, though.
After a long 30-minute bicycle ride where Columbo held onto the shoulders of a stranger for dear life, they finally reached town.
Nearly as soon as the puppy was set down on the pavement, he ran up to a woman named Andrea Shaw.
Shaw is a corporate attorney who only happened to be in Columbus on the same day at the same time as the puppy because she was there on a business trip, and had happened to join a friend for a walk through town before returning to her hotel.
Little and Dixon recall how his new buddy reacted when he saw Andrea. When she was walking by, Columbo knew he had just seen his furrever momma for the first time.
“She walked by the instant we pulled up. Had I been 5 minutes later or 5 minutes earlier they might not have crossed paths,” Little said.
“He started licking her, loving on her. It was immediate. She said, ‘I am keeping this dog,'” added Dixon.
Within minutes, Shaw had her new puppy on a leash and rifling through her purse for snacks while she gave her husband the surprising news over the phone to which his only reply was;
“Is your hotel dog friendly?”
Before Shaw could even think about how she was going to transport Columbo, as she was now calling him (Bo for short), all the way from Georgia to her home in Maine, she knew she needed to get all of his injuries treated first.
So, on their first night together, Shaw took little Columbo into the Animal Emergency Center where she was told that her furbaby was going to have to go through surgery before he’d be good to go, as he had a broken hind leg and had a broken toe on his right front leg.
Thankfully for the pair, the Southeastern Veterinary Surgery Center’s Dr. Wayne Waguespack graciously carved out a chunk of time to work on Columbo the following morning.
“He said he had probably had the injuries for 14 days. He put four pins in his leg,” Shaw recalls.
It’s pretty much safe to say that, by this time, Columbo had already been through hell and back, but he wasn’t quite done with the chaos.
After being released just three days after his surgery, Shaw had to find a way to get Columbo safely back home.
That’s when she discovered Grateful Doggies, a non-profit dedicated to providing a safe haven for rescue dogs until they can match them to a loving family…and an organization that also happens to be in the business of offering safe transport all along the East coast of newly adopted pets to their fur-ever homes!
Shaw left Columbo with the nonprofit on a Friday afternoon and within less than 48 hours they had completed the 1,100-mile trip, and Columbo was waiting to be picked up by his newfound mommy just an hour outside of her town.
Just two days after becoming acquainted with her new puppy, Shaw created a Facebook page for him called The Adventures of Columbo, where she regularly posts photos of updates with how ‘Bo is doing, and from the looks of it, he’s beyond well.
If ever there was a puppy with a rags-to-riches story to tell, it’s Columbo!
When he arrived in Maine, he was greeted by his new family that included a new dad, one very affectionate 5-year-old boy, and two other welcoming doggies.
The best part? Bo’s new home sits on a horse farm! Check out the video below to see how Columbo handled the transition from homeless stray to adored family pet!
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