When Marty first arrived at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, volunteer Andrea Zizzo felt the tears begin to sting her eyes.
This dog had been shot in the face, his jaw broken, but he still looked up at her with so much love and hope in his caramel-colored eyes.
He smiled, and then his tail wagged quickly back and forth.
This dog was one of a kind.
Months ago, Marty was wandering the streets as a stray. When a police officer saw him approaching, she pulled out her gun and fired.
The bullet entered Marty’s head, ripped through his jaw, and lodged itself under his tongue.
He was immediately rushed into surgery, and miraculously, he survived.
Marty was the second dog this officer had shot, and the staff is almost certain that he was probably coming toward her in a friendly way that she misunderstood as threatening.
In his long time at the shelter, Marty has not shown any signs of aggression and has proved himself to be a patient, gentle soul; perhaps the shooting was a tragic result his innocence and willingness to trust people.
Despite all the pain he’s endured, Marty is an emotional open book, and he puts a lot of faith in the kindness of mankind.
When Zizzo walks him, she admits that he looks up at her every few steps, just checking in and expressing gratitude in his own special way.
When asked what makes Marty special, Zizzo pauses before saying, “It’s the way he needs me.”
Some dogs are just happy to get outside of their cages and enjoy a walk, but Marty yearns for human contact.
Because he lives inside a small kennel with limited human interaction, shelter life has taken a toll on Marty.
Although Zizzo brings him extra chicken every time she visits, Marty is quite thin from the extremely stressful environment and has trouble putting on enough weight to cover his ribs.
When he’s in the cage, the anxiety sometimes causes him to jump repeatedly, leaving a raw and painful spot where his head hits the ceiling.
The shelter staff don’t know much about Marty’s past, but they suspect he had a home at one time.
He knows his commands—sit, down, paw—and often, he gives his paw before he’s even asked, giving high-fives and holding hands with anyone who takes the time to meet him.
Marty needs someone who won’t leave him behind, someone who will treat him with tenderness instead of violence, someone who will see in him the little hopeful boy who wants more than anything to be loved.