COWLITZ COUNTY Wash. (KPTV) – On Nov. 2, a utility crew with Cowlitz County found a dog lying in a ditch on the side of Spirit Lake Highway.
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About two months later, the dog now known as Trooper has found a home with a loving family, and his celebrity status is growing around the region and even the world.
On Tuesday, FOX 12 caught up with the Shulda family, who decided to add Trooper to their lives.
Dylan Shulda, who was one of the utility workers who originally found Trooper, said he felt a connection with the dog as soon as they found him along the road.
“I felt like we had to try to adopt this dog and make him a part of our family,” Shulda said.
He called his wife Shelly, also an animal-lover, who agreed to try to adopt Trooper. Despite their sympathy for him, the Shulda’s were a little unsure what they were getting into, adding a dog to their family who had clearly been through severe abuse and left for dead.
“When we first brought him home, his head was still wounded and he was still feeling dazed from being shot in the head,” Shelly Shulda said. “If you would take your hand over his head, he would kind of flinch, or kind of shy and he was really unsure about that, like ‘oh are they going to hurt me?’. It was kind of sad.”
After a couple of weeks, Trooper’s mouth started to heal enough for him to eat well, and they started to see his true personality.
“We were like oh my goodness, he’s just turned into such a sweet, loving dog!” Shelly said.
As Trooper’s story has been shared, he’s been recognized frequently in public, and people from all over the world have reached out to share how he’s inspired them.
“We’ve had people reach out from as far away as New Zealand, we’ve had somebody sent a package of toys to him from Gig Harbor,” she said. “I was at Petco with him one day, and people were like ‘oh, it’s Trooper!’”
Trooper has been invited to participate in a number of local events, including acting as Grand Marshall in the local Christmas parade, and attending the Cowlitz County Public Utility Department’s Christmas party this Wednesday.
There, employees will make a donation of several hundred dollars to the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, who initially took care of Trooper when he was found.
The Shulda’s still hope the person responsible will be held accountable.
“I want justice for Trooper, but at the end of the day there’s somebody out there who needs help, there’s somebody out there who is hurting and able to do something like this to an animal,” Dylan said.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department told FOX 12 on Tuesday that since it is an ongoing investigation, they were unable to make any comment.
In the meantime, the Shulda’s hope Trooper’s story can continue to bring joy and inspiration to others.
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“I understand why they love his story, because there’s so much hurt and wrong in the world that anytime you hear or see a story where there’s victory, good overcoming evil, it leaves you with a good feeling,” Shelly said. “He has brought us so much joy, that it’s just been amazing.”
If you have any information about Trooper’s case, you can reach out to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
Trooper will also be appearing at the Humane Society of Cowlitz County’s fundraiser on February 3. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.
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