Rescuers were horrified when they discovered a Chihuahua puppy dumped behind an Antioch, Calif., animal shelter March 30.
Someone had tortured the tiny dog, leaving severe chemical burns on his ears and along his belly.
Because of this abuse, his ears had to be surgically removed. Thanks to donations, the animal rescue group Umbrella of Hope covered the cost of his medical expenses, which amounted to about $5,000.
Along with the physical trauma, the puppy, who was given the name Fireman, also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“He had a lot of strings attached,” Kristy Keusch, who fostered Fireman for four months as he recovered from surgery, told the Contra Costa Times.
Fireman hated leashes and being hugged. He would nip anyone who touched his head or neck.
“He punctured me a few times,” Keusch told the Times.
Although Umbrella of Hope received thousands of requests to adopt Fireman, the rescue figured he would do best in a forever home with a burn survivor — someone who would understand the pain the dog was going through.
That someone turned out to be 12-year-old Chloe Levenson-Cupp. When she was a baby, scalding tea was accidentally spilled on her, resulting in second- and third-degree burns that required seven surgeries. Through Umbrella of Hope and local TV station KTVU, Shriners Hospital for Children helped Chloe and her family connect with Keusch and Fireman.
Last week, 6-month-old Fireman (aka Buddy) became an official member of the Levenson-Cupp family.
“Normally, in the human world, you don’t meet burn survivors,” Chloe told KTVU. “And then meeting a dog like me is even more special.”
Fireman is already letting Chloe touch his head, but he still runs away from a leash. Chloe takes him to the pet store in a doggie stroller.
“He’s my baby — he’s definitely my baby,” Chloe told the Contra Costa Times.
Fido Alert – East Contra Costa County is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of the person who tortured Fireman. Anyone with information is asked to call Antioch Animal Services at 925-779-6989.
Back in April, another “pawfect” match was made when the family of 3-year-old Sapphyre Johnson, who is missing toes and fingers due to a birth defect, adopted Lt. Dan, a white German Shepherd puppy born without a right front paw.
Photo via Twitter