Hope's story: Rescued dog finds new life


Hope -- a one-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever -- was rescued December 10, 2011. She was abandoned in a shed near the Westpark Tollway.

The dog was starved to the point that you could see each of her ribs, but that wasn't the worst part of her condition. She was also in tremendous pain

A tie-out chain around her right rear leg had been so tight that it cut into her skin and became embedded. The chain cut off circulation, swelling the paw to four times its normal size. She could barely walk.


Video above is fromn Houston SPCA


Still, Hope managed to wag her tail through the torture.

The Houston SPCA's injured animal ambulance rushed to the organization's headquarters on Portway Drive in northwest Houston where the healing began.

Jo Ann Ellis has been a Houston SPCA foster volunteer for 25 years. She began fostering Hope in the middle of December.

"She was so loving and forgetful of all her injuries," Ellis said. "She just had a spirit that I knew she would be a great dog. And she just stole my heart."

The Houston SPCA veterinary team worked to treat Hope's wounds, but her injuries were so severe that she required more specialized care.

Soon, the Center for Veterinary Pain Management and Rehabilitation in The Woodlands heard about Hope and decided to donate their time and expertise to her case.

"We were very fortunate in the fact that a veterinarian stepped in to help with this long process," Ellis said.

Dr. Rick Wall and his team at the Center for Veterinary Pain Management and Rehabilitation use a variety of therapies to bring relief to pets that are in pain and restore full function. It's the only veterinarian-owned practice of its kind in Texas.

"I had them bring her up and took a look at her," Wall said in an interview. "Got a pretty quick idea that it was definitely a problem with the circulation in the foot not returning, and that's why it had all of the edema

In addition to surgery, Hope received a combination of therapies, including lasers, bandages, open wound therapy and even leeches to remove congested blood. She was massaged after laser treatments and then ice was placed on her paw. And every night, she had a pressure wrap.

Hope received treatments three times a day, five days a week in 30- to 40-minute sessions for over three months.

"She never, ever had a problem with any of it. I think she knew we were helping her," Kari Koudelka, a registered veterinary technician who assisted with Hope's treatments, told HSPCA. "She knew we were making it feel better."

Once doctors got the swelling down and Hope began to use her paw more, they could tell she suffered soft tissue damage as well. So they ordered a custom splint made to support her foot.

The plan now is for Hope to wear the splint in intervals until the paw is fully healed and back to normal.

But Hope's life is already more normal than it was this time last year. She is healthier and happier, and she isn't missing any meals.

Houston SPCA officials said Hope has gained 23 pounds since she was rescued, and she has since been adopted into a loving, forever home.

The Houston SPCA's injured animal ambulances rescue thousands of animals in danger and distress every year, and it's the only service of its kind in the region. For more information on their cruelty investigations and rescue efforts or to make a donation, visit www.houstonspca.org.

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