A sickly, emaciated puppy was so excited to receive attention when animal control officers came to rescue him that he collapsed from exertion as he furiously wagged his tail, according to his rescuers in New Jersey.
The officers in Paterson were responding to a report of a starved puppy being kept outside in the heat with no food or water, according to animal rescue group Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge.
The puppy "collapsed from the exertion and excitement of greeting a visitor, having been alone for days," the rescue group said in a fundraising page set up for the pup.
One of the officers took him off his chain and brought him into the home, where he staggered over to the toilet and lapped up all the water before she could stop him, all the time wagging his tail and falling over.
"The puppy's tail never stopped wagging -- he was so excited to finally have human contact and kind touch," the rescue group said.
The owners admitted to animal control officers the pup hadn't eaten in days.
The puppy was taken to Oradell Animal Hospital, where rescue group workers met the animal control officers.
"When they arrived and unwrapped him, he began wiggling again," the rescue group said. "He was so happy, his tail wagging furiously -- all the while, the rescuers were in tears as he tipped over and over again from weakness, his skin flaked to the floor and his little heartbeat seemed to shine right through his paper-thin skin."
The puppy -- named Pax by his rescuers, because he seemed to have finally found his peace -- is receiving IV treatment in the hospital for the next several days until he is stabilized.
"We can't wait to give him all of the attention, love and care that he has so desperately been craving," said the rescue group.
A GoFundMe page set up for the puppy had raised over $5,000 by Thursday afternoon.
It's not clear if the owners of the dog are facing charges. A message was left with Paterson police.