"How can anyone do this?" asked volunteer Shawn Hollub at the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County. "He's so sweet, so loving, how can you intentionally let this dog starve to death?"
Just one week ago, Courage weighed less than 40 pounds, less than half of what a healthy German shepherd should weigh. He was so weak that he could not lift his head or swallow. Veterinarians said he had been starved for more than a month.
"He survived by eating dirt and rocks," said Hollub.
Courage was rescued by a Good Samaritan from an unknown location in Bellflower. The non-profit German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County then stepped in. The community veterinary hospital in Garden Grove worked to save him.
"Around-the-clock feeding, we had to syringe-feed him, tube-fed him," said chief of staff Dr. William Grant of Community Veterinary Hospital. "I have seen a lot of abuse cases and in my 20 years, this is probably one of the most severe I've ever seen."
Volunteers are with Courage around the clock. In the past week, he's gained five pounds but officials said it would take months of care and the medical bills in the thousands of dollars before he's back to normal.
"He's got a lot of people pulling for him. We've had phone calls from all over the country," said Hollub.
So far, no one knows who left Courage to die. The non-profit organization is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.