BANGOR, Maine — When Newburgh resident Colby Walker walked into the Bangor Humane Society, she didn’t know that one puppy up for adoption had been dragged behind his drunk owner’s truck.
“I told them I wanted a dog with high anxiety and dissociative disorder,” Walker said recently from her parent’s farm in Newburgh. “My anxiety is off the charts, and I wanted a dog I could relate to.”
The animal shelter gave Walker a list of three dogs that fit her criteria, but she only met one because she “fell in love instantly” with Phoenix, a pit bull that arrived at the shelter in June with injuries to his chest and paws suffered when he was leashed to a truck and pulled along Wilson Street.
Brewer police charged resident Jeffrey Mayhew, 31, with animal cruelty. They found him at an emergency veterinary clinic with his injured puppy.
In June, Mayhew pleaded no contest to animal cruelty and pleaded guilty to charges of operating under the influence of intoxicants, violating a condition of his release and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. He was sentenced in October to 118 days in the Penobscot County Jail, ordered to pay $1,000 in fines and more than $230 in restitution to the city of Brewer, and he can never legally own a dog again.
Phoenix was too damaged to be adopted immediately. But Walker went through the animal shelter’s foster-to-adopt program and recently was able to take Phoenix home to the farm in Newburgh, where her parents raise miniature horses and have a black Lab-pit bull mix named Sam for Phoenix to play with.
“He has tons of room to run and sometimes he thinks he’s a horse,” his new owner said. “And he absolutely loves to go for car rides.”
Phoenix, about a year old, “does get a little nervous when he meets new people, especially men,” Walker said.
Overall, though, Phoenix seems happy and well adjusted, Walker said. “It’s ridiculous, his willingness to forgive,” Walker said. “You rescue them, and they definitely thank you for it.”