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'Like a different dog': Ethan the rescue dog reunites with the family that helped save his life

 The thing Shawn Henderson couldn’t recover from about Ethan the dog as her family played with him outside the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville late Monday afternoon was how big he had gotten.



The rescue, who now weighs about 80 pounds and appears to face about 5 feet tall when on his hind legs, looked to be “like fourfold bigger, especially within the legs and head” than the last time she’d seen him within the same parking zone , she kept saying.



The last time they saw him — on Jan. 29 — they thought the dog could also be dead.


Henderson said her family had just finished dropping off a donation — they’d found some old supplies not needed during a recent move — at the Kentucky Humane Society’s main campus once they noticed a figure lying within the parking zone .



They stopped their car to urge a better look. “When I jumped out, he moved a small bit, and that’s once I realized he was still with us,” she said.


Related:Kentucky Humane Society marks 30 days of taking care of 'happy, handsome' Ethan the dog


Henderson, her 11-year-old son, Tatum Hughes, and his dad, David Hughes, rushed to alert humane society staff, who quickly whisked away the dog that might soon be named “Ethan” to urge life-saving veterinary care and jumpstart a story that’s captured the hearts of the many around Louisville in recent weeks.

Ethan, who was 38 pounds when he was discovered, would spend those weeks in critical care at an emergency veterinary hospital before transitioning into the family of longtime KHS staffer Jeff Callaway. The Henderson-Hughes, meanwhile, were closely following updates on his condition from the humane society and media.


They were pleased to ascertain him doing well, hitting his goal weight and getting along side Callaway’s other pets. Still, the image of the malnourished dog that couldn’t even stand was hard for the family to process. 



“It was scary," Henderson said. "We were all quite shaky. We cried a touch bit and were truly upset. it had been traumatic.” 


Tatum Hughes, 11, left, pets Ethan outside the Kentucky Humane Society as Ethan's "foster dad" Jeff Callaway, right, held him on a leash in Louisville, Ky. on March 1, 2021. Ethan was discovered by Tatum and his mom Shawn Henderson, second from right, and pop David Hughes, as Ethan was malnourished outside the organization. Callaway helped to nurse him back to health.

The ordeal was particularly hard on her son. That’s what gave his grandmother the thought to succeed in bent the humane society and see if a reunion might be organized in celebration of both Ethan’s recovery and Tatum’s upcoming 12th birthday.


It was an emotional reunion, the family said, as they spent about an hour twiddling with Ethan and going to know his caregivers.


“It’s just amazing to ascertain him like this compared to the way he was,” David Hughes said. 


“He’s sort of a different dog,” Henderson added.


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Tatum said he was excited to ascertain the type "VIP treatment" Ethan is getting from his team.



It was a correct early birthday celebration for Tatum also , complete with a present from Ethan and his caregivers that included treats and toys for his pets and a “Team Ethan” T-shirt.


Tatum said it had been an excellent thanks to celebrate but he was nervous that his dog, Digger, would be jealous when he smelled Ethan on his clothes once they got home.


He was particularly keen on what he dubbed Ethan’s “bird call,” a sort of high-pitched squeal the dog made while the 2 played.


“Maybe he learned the way to make it while out on his own,” Tatum guessed.


Read more:Cat undergoes leg amputation at Kentucky Humane Society after being found hit by bullet


For Callaway, who said Ethan’s is “the worst case” he’s seen in years of working in animal rescue, it had been also an opportunity to mention “thank you” to a family he calls heroes.


“When they brought him in, Ethan didn’t have a reputation . They didn’t know his story was getting to become so popular, but they saved his life … To me they’re amazing,” he said.


Callaway, who is understood at the humane society because the “big dog expert,” has gained notoriety as “foster dad” to a now-famous dog. that have has been “overwhelming” sometimes , but is ultimately worthwhile , he said.


Jeff Callaway pets Ethan outside the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville, Ky. on March 1, 2021. Ethan was discovered by a family malnourished outside the organization and Callaway helped to nurse him back to health. He says that he's Ethan's "foster dad."

“He’s just an enormous lover,” he said, “he likes to hug on you and cuddle you and lick you. He gets along side everybody.”


He hopes the eye given to Ethan will help raise awareness about the various animals the humane society’s vets save that don’t get the maximum amount attention.


“Unfortunately, his story isn't the sole one. There are other dogs that get dropped off, but hopefully Ethan’s popularity and his story can bring more awareness to the opposite animals here at the shelter and at other shelters that require help.”



As with tons of these shelter pets, many mysteries still surround Ethan’s story.


The humane society is awaiting results from a DNA test to work out what breed or breeds he's , and after getting a better check out his teeth, they now think he's but a year old instead of 2 to three years old like they originally said.


Louisville Metro Animal Services, which handles allegations of animal cruelty and neglect in Jefferson County, is investigating Ethan's case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the agency at 502-473-PETS.


The humane society has security cameras, but Ethan was left during a "blind spot within the parking zone ," the group said.


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