One of the hardest things about animal rescue is taking in a feral dog off the streets. It’s a task that most people are just not up for, but for the brave few who do, they know how big of a difference they make in the lives of these neglected animals. This is the story of Malcolm.

Malcolm was a feral dog in East St. Louis until he was rescued by Gateway Pet Guardians.

A Letter from Belinda Paine: 

By now I’m sure everyone knows our story. For those who do not and for those who love a good story:

I saw him lying on the side of the street in an empty lot on my way to work one summer morning. He was young, perhaps 7 months or so. The next day there he lay. On the third morning I took him a breakfast sandwich and did so almost every day for the next 6 years.

Early in our relationship I was worried about who would feed him when I wasn’t able to make it; until a dear friend at work told me about PJ and Gateway Pet Guardians (GPG). And so began Gateway’s relationship with Malcolm. Little did I know that Malcolm had several other “guardians” who were also feeding and looking out for him. Last November GPG captured the elusive boy and took him to K9 Athletic Club and there his socialization transformation began.

I went to visit him almost every day. We started by reading children’s stories to him. Eventually, between the efforts of the K9 staff and the GPG volunteers, he began to trust. As he progressed Jamie Anderson Case gave me permission to work him with my two rescues. The staff at K9 helped train my two and get Malcolm used to them. A year later he is in our home.

This boy who showed little to no signs of playing, toleration, or trust, is like a young puppy discovering and enjoying everything life has to offer. He gives kisses, loves to snuggle and nestle in our arms, and is inquisitive about everything. He had to be on leash inside and outside of the home for a week, but his love and desire to belong abated his sense of flight and he now uses the doggie door and comes and goes as he pleases. Needless to say, he likes to be inside much more than outside.

He hasn’t had an accident inside since learning to use the doggie door and he is quickly learning commands. Although he is still quite reserved outside of the home, I am able to take him to work with me, and with the help of GPG Education Coordinator, Kara Dalton and her Vet Tech students at Gateway STEM HS, he is gaining trust and his social skills with others are improving daily. Thank you to Jamie Anderson Case, GPG, Kara Dalton, and K9 for your patience, understanding, and continued success in giving dogs like Malcolm a chance to learn what love and trust are and have a life without fear and hunger.

There’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day of love, than giving that love to a stray pet. If you’re ready to open your home and your heart, visit our foster page to learn more about our foster program.


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