Abused dog has a 'happy tail and a happy heart'

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2012

By Deanna Boyd

Hope is being restored.

A pug-mix dog found Monday in Parker County with electrical tape sealing her mouth shut around her protruding tongue continued to improve by leaps and bounds Wednesday, drinking water on her own and even eating hard kibble.

"Her tail has not stopped wagging," said Rhonda Sears, a veterinary technician at the Bowie Drive Animal Hospital in Weatherford. "She's got a happy tail and a happy heart."

Sheriff's officials continued their search Wednesday for the person or persons responsible for torturing the dog, since named Hope. A $35,000 reward -- including $25,000 through the Texas Humane Alliance -- is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

A concerned citizen had spotted the injured dog Monday morning wandering in the 6900 block of Baker Road and contacted authorities.

After an all-day search by animal control officers and concerned citizens, the dog was caught about 5:30 p.m. near a creek bed. Authorities say the dog was overheated, dehydrated and unable to eat, drink or pant. She required about 100 internal and external stitches to close four cuts that had penetrated her muscle tissue.

A veterinarian told investigators that it appeared the dog's mouth had been taped shut with her tongue exposed for more than 24 hours and that would likely lose a portion of her tongue.

Wednesday, however, Sears said Hope was improving "almost hourly."

"Her tongue, if she loses any part of it, will be the minimal edge where the worst of the trauma is," Sears said.

Sears said the hospital has been flooded with calls from concerned people around the world wanting to help.

"People are calling from England and Canada and New York wanting to donate to the reward fund or adopt the dog," Sears said. "It's crazy ... The good is outshining the bad on this. This is a tragic event put people are stepping up. It's just amazing the goodness that's out there."

Sears said the torture the dog suffered is impossible to grasp. She said the dog's cut wounds were "very, very deep" and smooth -- the most serious on either side of the dog's neck -- indicting that they were inflicted with a knife or hatchet.

"I can't imagine the type of person who would do this," Sears said. "I hope I never understand that mindset."

Despite the inflicted injuries, Hope is a sweet and trusting dog, Sears said.

"She will come up to you, waving her tail and give you a kiss despite what's been done to her," Sears said.

Sears said the dog will likely be ready to go to a foster home before the weekend. A long list of people wanting to adopt the dog is already being compiled.

"It's up to the animal shelter who gets her," Sears said.

Sears said Hope is just one of many dogs that have been abused and neglected and that she hopes Hope's story will inspire people to visit their local shelters and adopt a pet.

"She was somebody's trash on Sunday and she's everybody's treasure today," Sears said. "Her story is not over. This is just a short chapter. She's going to have a happy ending."

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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