When Freon, a 2-year-old boxer mix, saw rescuer Donna Lochmann standing at the top of the staircase, he didn’t know how to react. It was the first time he was seeing anyone in over two weeks.
Lochmann first learned about Freon when a phone call from a local landlord came into Stray Rescue of St. Louis animal shelter, reporting an abandoned dog in one of his houses.
The landlord told shelter staff that Freon’s family had moved to a home that didn’t allow pets and that they’d left Freon trapped in a staircase for over a week before letting anyone know he was there. Hearing this, Lochmann jumped in her car and drove straight to the house.
When Lochmann arrived at the scene, she stopped at a closed door in the foyer, where Freon was reportedly staying.
“When I cracked the door [open], I saw him huddling on one of the landings,” Lochmann, chief life saving officer at the shelter, told The Dodo.
Although he was alone, Freon was able to survive almost two weeks in the stairwell thanks to the bowls of food someone had left behind. He also had a supply of water keeping him cool during the hot summer days.
Lochmann made her way down the stairs to Freon’s landing and, to her surprise, the timid pup let her put a leash on him with no objections.
“He was a little hesitant to come with me,” Lochmann said. “But after just a little bit of coaxing with Vienna sausages, he walked up the steps and right out the front door.”
And off they went.
As soon as they got in the car, Freon — who didn’t yet have a name — did something that caught Lochmann’s attention.
“He kind of stood up front with us and pushed his face against the air conditioner vents,” Lochmann said. “That’s why he got the name Freon, because he liked the cold air on his face.”
When Freon got to the shelter, he immediately stole everyone’s hearts.
According to a Facebook post, the pup “kissed everyone in [the] clinic, even when he got his shots!” The post goes on to say that no other dog had ever acted like that before.
Freon spent a short period of time at the shelter’s clinic, where he received the medical attention he needed after being alone for so long.
Freon became eligible for adoption as soon as he was back in full health, and his adoption listing didn’t last long.
“He’s got his forever family now,” Lochmann said. “He has a dog sibling, too!”
Staff at Stray Rescue of St. Louis are so happy that Freon is thriving in his forever home now and that he can finally put his tragic past behind him.
“We love you, buddy,” the shelter wrote in a post announcing Freon’s adoption. “[There’s] no looking back.”