Anubis’s hell was real.
Animal rescuers speculate that the Egyptian street dog may have been trying to protect his territory in the Cairo suburbs or was perhaps guarding property from trespassers.
He started to bark – and wouldn’t stop. So someone silenced him.
“They cut off the muzzle to stop him from barking,” Lauren Connelly, foster coordinator for Special Needs Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation (SNARR), told The Washington Post.
The dog’s face was forever maimed – nose severed, teeth missing, tongue entirely exposed.
Anubis was sleeping under cars and searching for food, his rescuers said. When he did find something to eat, they said, he had to rest his face on the ground to shovel in the scraps with his tongue.
He had worn down his teeth to nubs.
Late last year, Cairo-based rescue Animal Protection Foundation learned about the injured dog, which was wandering the streets, and became concerned about his condition, according to news reports. A rescuer reached out to SNARR in the United States for help.
SNARR shared Anubis’s story and it soon spread across social media.
“I saw him and fell in love with him,” Katiria Declet, 27, of El Paso told The Post. “I just wanted to help.”
Declet showed a photo of Anubis to her husband, Wes Reed, and the two decided to take him in.
“We were looking to add another member [to the family] and I happened to see him,” she said.
She added: “Everybody wanted to donate, but nobody wanted to take on a challenge.”
The Texas couple, who have four other dogs, said they have a “soft spot” for animals with special needs.
“We wanted to get him here so we could take care of him,” Reed said.
SNARR put together a travel plan spanning more than 7,000 miles. Anubis, who is estimated to be about 5, arrived in mid-January at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and was taken to Maryland for emergency veterinary care.
The animal rescue group sent out a request online asking volunteers to “help with a leg” of the 25-leg trip – a relay race to get Anubis home.
“It was really amazing to see,” Reed said.
A Facebook page, Anubis The Egyptian Baladi, was created to help people follow the pup from the East Coast to the South and then to document his progress. Along the way, people posted photos and messages such as “Sweet Anubis on our leg of his transport” and “Freedom ride!!!”
Someone posted a video with the caption: “On the road again! I’m in Virginia, on my way to Texas!”
Declet joined the chain in West Texas and took Anubis home.
On Jan. 24, Anubis arrived in El Paso.
“We finally got our boy,” his new family wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to all who helped get him this far. Words can’t express our gratitude for each and every one of you. We promise he is in the best of hands and will keep you updated with his progress.”
SNARR’s Connelly said the couple is fostering Anubis for now; once he is available for adoption, they will have first pick.
“They’re crazy about him,” she said, “so he’s not going anywhere.”
For the past several weeks, the couple has been chronicling Anubis’s integration into a new life.
Declet and Reed posted photos when Anubis met the family’s K-9 clan and a video showing him playing in the sun.
Most recently, they shared a clip to show people how Anubis feeds himself. “Probably the most common question we get asked is, ‘How does Anubis eat?’ ” they wrote online. “Dogs are extremely adaptive and handicapped dogs are no different.”
Anubis, they said, has now claimed his spot in the family.
“He loves my wife. He loves my kids. He loves to greet me at the door,” Reed said. “With other dogs, he has become the alpha male. He rules the roost.”
“He doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with him,” he added. “He’s just happy as he is.”