A dog that was found in terrible condition on a Saskatchewan road has been rescued by a couple in Moncton.

“Quill the Dog” was discovered by RCMP in Loon Lake, Sask., in August crawling with fleas, severely malnourished, and pierced by hundreds of painful porcupine quills.

Tom and Kelly Badger's daughter, Lindsey, was one of the officers who helped nurse Quill back to health. Though 4,000 kilometres separated them, it only took one picture to convince the Badgers to adopt the ailing dog and fly him out east.

The black lab-mix arrived on a red-eye flight last Saturday.

“He'd been cooped up for so long,” says Kelly Badger. “He'd been looking at strange faces for so long, we're just two more peaking in at him. But he came out and it was just like he was coming home.”

Badger says veterinarians have worked on Quill on two different occasions.

“He had to be sedated twice to get them all out. Gradually, they're still working their way out,” she says. 

Less than a week later, Quill is settling in and slowly recovering. He's found a new favourite spot on the Badger's love seat, but battles nighttime anxiety and lingering medical issues.

“He couldn't do stairs. He didn't know what a treat was, doesn't know how to play. The car was certainly foreign to him, so you should have seen us trying to get him in the car that night. But he's starting to get in the groove,” says Kelly Badger.

Tom Badger says compassion kicked in when he saw photos of Quill.

“There are so many animals that need care and attention,” he says. “I think it's our human responsibility to do so."

Despite his tough background, Quill remains sweet and curious, fitting in quickly with the Badger's two other rescue dogs, Bucky and Brody.

“They've all adjusted and now they're sleeping together, they're eating together, and he's learning along the way. We know we've found another great pet,” says Tom Badger.

While Quill has undergone a drastic recovery as he settles into his new home, the Badgers warn many other animals aren't as lucky and are urging the public to support local shelters and the adoption of older dogs.

“They're not funded, in most cases, by the government. It's just the goodwill of community,” Tom Badger says. “It's so important that if you can't take animals into your household, perhaps you can support them by funding shelters that care for animals like Quilly.”

The Badgers say that will result in more happy endings, like theirs.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke.