Cape Town – When emaciated one-year-old Benji was offered a bowl of dog food for the first time, the starving pitbull mix was hesitant to dig in. But a month later, he has a healthy appetite and is the friendliest pooch in the local park after settling into life in the suburbs.Rescue dog Benji has a new lease on life in the suburbs. (YouTube/Sidewalk Specials) Benji is one of 17 dogs rescued from dire circumstances in a settlement near Ceres during an outreach operation four weeks ago.Animal lovers and veterinary staff collected the neglected pets. They spent the night in a stable before animal rescue network Sidewalk Specials brought them to Cape Town.After emergency intervention from Vet Point, which stayed open an extra two hours to treat the rescues, the dogs were all placed in foster homes within 24 hours.(Credit: Sidewalk Specials)Benji had spent his entire life without a name, tied up in his owner’s backyard, Sidewalk Specials founder Rachael Sylvester told News24.He was scarred from being attacked with rocks. His owner insisted Benji and his sister Cleo were being fed, but Sylvester said this was hard to believe."And they were not even the worst off. One dog had three legs and another was walking around with a broken pelvis," she said.Benji also lost part of his tail due to frostbite. After spending a week with a family in Hout Bay and another in Kommetjie as he regained his strength, Benji was adopted by a family in Bellville."He is doing so well. Benji is very playful and especially loves a ball. He is very trusting and loving and never growls or even shows his teeth, which would be hard for some to believe considering his start in life," she said.The other 16 rescues are also settling in well to their new homes.(Credit: Sidewalk Specials)Sylvester said Sidewalk Specials is supported by a number of dog-loving social media followers who are always ready to jump in to foster when the need arises.Home visits are conducted before rescues are handed over to their temporary owners, and Sylvester is known to hop in her car and drive any distance to save a needy dog.To join their network, click here.