'Canine ambassador' at Grand Island shelter dies; Angus had been featured on national TV show


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GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska — The Grand Island animal shelter's beloved "canine ambassador" has died.

Laurie Dethloff, the adopted mom of Angus, told The Grand Island Independent (http://bit.ly/1o43gEK ) that the bull mastiff suffered from wobbler syndrome, a neurologic disease that affected his legs. Dethloff said Angus' hind legs became so atrophied that he couldn't walk.

"It was very frustrating for him, and he was proud and refused help getting up," Dethloff said. "He wanted to do things on his own."

Angus' quality of life had declined substantially, Dethloff said, so he was euthanized at her home on Friday. He was about 10 years old.

Dubbed Angus T. Loner after his capture in December 2009, the gold and brown dog had evaded hundreds of capture attempts for around four years after being left outside a local meatpacking plant in 2005. He foraged for scraps, received food from neighbors and got from meatpacking employees, including an occasional pizza. He took shelter in a tree line near the plant and in nearby barns.

After his capture, he was socialized and turned into the shelter's mascot.

For five years, Angus greeted people at the Central Nebraska Humane Society, where Dethloff is executive director. His photos were put on humane society signs, flyers and website, and he traveled to spread the word about proper animal care.

"He was an ambassador not only for the community, but for people to look at neglected animals differently and how time and attention can make them into wonderful pets after they've been through a horrible and frightening experience," Dethloff said.

He was featured on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101" television show in 2010.

Producer Linda Benya told the newspaper then that she decided to include Angus as part of a show on bull mastiffs because he had such a great story.

"He's a dog who survived great odds," Benya said.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com

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