LORAIN, Ohio — Beaten. Neglected. Starved.
That’s how all of us were first introduced to Herbie, a dog found barely alive on December 2.
The pit-bull mix was spotted on the tree lawn of an abandoned home on West 11th Street in Lorain, by Patrolman Rick Broz. Herbie was excruciatingly underweight, blind in one eye and had a fractured skull.
Thanks to the love and support of people all over the world, the pup who never gave up, has made unthinkable strides towards a more comfortable life, despite doctors’ recent discovery of inoperable cancer.
Herbie’s story has helped to catapult a much-debated issue into the spotlight: the push for stricter animal cruelty laws in Ohio.
Despite the biting-cold temperatures Saturday night, a large group of Herbie supporters gathered at Lakeview Park in Lorain as a call for action from local officials to add more rescue facilities and enforce tougher legislation for the mistreatment of animals.
Supporters of the beloved pooch also lit candles, prayed and wrote messages of love for him. Those who couldn’t be there found a way to participate, too.
People from as far away as Africa, Europe, Mexico and South America pinned their names on “Herbie’s Candle Map,” a virtual display of support from across the globe.
Among the attendees at the Lorain vigil was Broz, whose presence in Herbie’s life since his rescue has built an unbreakable bond between the two.
Discovered at just 25 pounds, and unable to walk from being too weak, Herbie is now at a healthy 60 pounds — not far off from his ideal weight.
As a result of his progressing cancer, Herbie isn’t allowed to be adopted. He needs constant care from Dr. Woods and his dedicated staff at the Lorain Animal Clinic, where he stays during the week.
“We have to let the fluids drain constantly to prevent it from accumulating under his skin which would cause him discomfort,” Broz told Fox 8 News.
But every Friday — come rain or shine — Broz picks up his “BFF” and takes him home for the weekend. There, Herbie eats like a king, gets constant love, attention and care from his most trustworthy human companion.
Broz posts regular updates about their time together on his Facebook page, as well as on the “Justice For Herbie” page, of which nearly 8,000 people are members.
The patrolman’s devotion is clearly evident on the page: “If we have to put him to sleep, you couldn’t keep me away with a restraining order, two rabid elephants and an ostrich with PMS.”
And as long as Herbie’s comfortable, Broz says he will continue to provide that kind of loving atmosphere that Herbie so desperately deserved from the beginning.
“We don’t know how long he will live. Days to months? As long as he is happy, pain-free, eating and not dropping weight, and shows no signs of the cancer affecting his mind, we will keep him going.”
*For additional coverage on Herbie, click HERE