Abandoned by his family, he now lived on big city streets where he encountered lots of unfamiliar sights and sounds. He did his best to get by.
But then some mean kids came along and teased him and kicked him. He ran for his life. Unfortunately, he ran right into the path of an oncoming car.
Left for dead, the 1-year-old lay bleeding and quivering.
But luck was on his side. A nearby pedestrian saw what happened. She scooped him up and took him to a nearby care facility where folks named him Tragedy.
He didn't know it then, but the Yorkie-mix pup would soon experience a very different life in Naperville.
The story of Tragedy
Because the animal care facility was unable to care for all of Tragedy's injuries, one of its workers, a former employee at Naperville-based Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment called Chris Stirn, ADOPT's director of operations.
"They called us, knowing we have the Wilbur Fund for outstanding medical care," Stirn said. "They knew he needed some significant surgery. They sent me some pictures, and I was like, 'How can I say no?'"
The pup had a severely injured right eye, a broken jaw and a cracked skull, said Sandra Wilcoxon, ADOPT's interim executive director. If it hadn't been for the good Samaritan and the care facility, Tragedy "would have been lying in a gutter and would have bled out," she said.
In spite of it all, life would soon change for the better for little Tragedy.
"The person who called me took Tragedy to Naperville Animal Hospital," Stirn said.
"(The hospital) called me and said, 'Chris, this dog is not easy to handle. We're trying to be patient, but he's being really difficult.' I told them it would probably be best if I come see him before going any further."
Once at the hospital, Stirn saw firsthand the extent of Tragedy's injuries and his angry disposition.
"I wrapped him in a towel and put him on my lap," Stirn said. "He was really scared. He had been through a tremendous amount in his little life and didn't trust anybody. He had his guard up."
Stirn, however, said she "could tell by his face that he was sweet." She decided to give Tragedy a chance.
Tragedy to Courage
Naperville Animal Hospital got right to work. Doctors removed his severely injured right eye, cared for lacerations on his head and recommended a specialist for his broken jaw.
After a week in the hospital, Tragedy was ready for his new temporary home at the shelter, where he was renamed, Courage "for his strong spirit, survival instincts and willingness to learn to love again," Wilcoxon said.
For the first couple of weeks at ADOPT, Stirn said she kept Courage with her and Wilcoxon in their shared office.
"I would pick him up in a towel and put him right on my lap. I wouldn't pet him; I wouldn't do anything," she said. "And then he came around really quickly; I knew he was going to be great.
"He came in not liking anybody," Stirn said. "Then he got to know me and liked me. Then he would get to know other people who would come in. It's been a transition."
After spending time in the office, Courage moved into the shelter's intake area, "so he had to be handled by others" and get used to them, Stirn said.
Finally, the little dog transitioned into the kennel, where the shelter keeps all the other dogs.
"Now we're trying to do emotional healing, just giving him some time," Stirn said. "He's adjusting very well to the situation."
Stirn said she's become attached to the little guy. "He's doing well," she said. "He's able to eat and give you a million kisses. He's a sweet dog; he's like my little buddy."
The next step
Little Courage continues to recuperate. Many shelter supporters have donated to his recovery. Stirn said the shelter's Wilbur Fund has raised more than $1,000 for his surgical bills and medical care.
Stirn said Courage soon will be healthy enough to be neutered. In the meantime, the shelter is accepting applications for his adoption.
"We need to find a family that understands his past, understands his hesitancy, and is willing to go slowly and work with him," she said. "I'm really glad we took a chance on him.
"He's a great little dog. It's a really good story with a really happy ending."