Decked out in hot pink, zebra striped bandages and a smile, it's hard to imagine "Hope,” a 26-pound mixed breed, has weathered any kind of worries. But in just the first year of her life, she’s proved she's a survivor.
"When she first came in, things were pretty frightening," BluePearl Veterinary Hospital's Dr. Tammy Miller Michau said Tuesday.
BluePearl vets and Hardee Animal Rescue Team got Hope in late March, after investigators say she was doused in kerosene and lit on fire by her owner.
"When she walked in, she was wagging her tail, looking us in the face. It was like she was telling us, 'don't look at what's on the outside, do your job and save me. I want to live,’ " Hardee Animal Rescue Team President Leigh Sockalosky said Tuesday.
She's been fighting ever since. Hope's ears were burned off and she was temporarily blinded by the fire. Second-degree burns covered more than 50 percent of her body.
"Hope is a brave dog and she allowed us to do what was necessary to help her and didn't fight us at all. Some dogs that are in pain will get frightened and will fight. She didn't do any of that. She was very tolerant of everything we did," Michau said.
It paid off. In just a month, vets say laser therapy healed 90 percent of her burns, and constant care allowed her to regain her sight.
The final step in coming full circle was finding her forever home. HART received thousands of adoption requests from across the country, but Hope will be staying close to home.
"I'm going to keep her personally, I'm going to continue with the updates. So many people are following her on Facebook, worldwide, she's touched so many lives," Sockalosky said.
Hope's former owner, 66-year old Larry Wallace of Arcadia, was charged with animal cruelty and arson earlier this month.
Hope will continue to get veterinary care, but vets believe she should live out the rest of her life as a healthy, happy dog.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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