When Kayla Filoon, a student who volunteers as a dog walker at an animal shelter in Philadelphia, saw Russ the pit bull for the first time, she knew there was a special connection between them. “He came in as a stray, and he was really beat up,” Filoon told The Dodo. “He was missing fur on his tail and ears. He was also terribly skinny.” The 20-year-old woman added: “He was just sitting there calmly, staring at me… And I thought… I need to take him now.”
Filoon knew she needed to act fast, as recently the shelter had to put 15 dogs to sleep. “Any dog had a chance of being put down, especially the ones who were sicker, and Russ was definitely one of them,” said the woman.