LUMBERTON — After a month of plenty of food, rest, and extra tender care, Squirrel is starting to look like a dog again.
“She looks 200 percent better,” said a smiling Michelle Packard, who rescued the pup and brought her in early June to the Robeson County Humane Society. “It’s just not the same dog.”
Packard’s visit to the Robeson County Humane Society on Friday was only the second time that she has been able to visit Squirrel since saving her, and on this visit most visible signs of the dog’s trauma are gone. Packard said Squirrel is nearly unrecognizable from the mangy mutt she rescued.
Packard’s decision to take the 5- to 8-month puppy to the Humane Society’s Friends for Life Shelter likely saved her life. Squirrel had been suffering from severe mange, infections, swelling, and was closing to starving to death.
“She was pretty close to dying,” said Bill Cerase, shelter director. “Another day or two out there and she might not be here.”
According to Packard, Squirrel’s mange was so severe that much of her fur had fallen off and her skin was raw with infection that made it difficult to tell that she was a dog.
“The first time I saw her, I thought she was a fox,” said Packard. “I couldn’t tell what she was. She didn’t look like a dog. I don’t even know how she managed to stay alive.”
Packard discovered Squirrel in late May looking for food around her house in Lumberton.
“I started putting food out on the front porch to get her to come,” said Packard. “She would come and eat the food at night when I couldn’t see her. I figured I would never get her that way so I started putting food out there while I was up.”
Squirrel has been recovering in an isolation room for the past month. It’s not often that RCHS gets a dog in her condition, and Cerase noted that straff had never taken care of a dog in as poor condition as Squirrel was in. But, Cerase expects her to make a full recovery.
“She making a really good recovery,” said Cerase. “We are very optimistic about her hair coming back now because there is quite a bit of new growth.”
The last of Squirrel’s scabbing, on her nose is healing, and a golden coat of fur is starting to appear. Even after the swelling has disappeared, Squirrel’s paws remain large, which Cerase indicates that she has a lot of growing left to do.
Cerase said that Squirrel was named by assistant director Mendy Morris because she had a “squirrelly” timid nature about her when she was first brought to them after being on her own for so long.
Squirrel has since been reintroduced to the facilities outdoor kennel and has visited the shelter’s outdoor play area. She is at the point in her recovery when most of her injuries have healed, and will soon be learning how to play with other dogs, and put her trust in people again.
In a few weeks, Cerase says Squirrel will be ready for adoption, and he has already seen many applications coming in for her, even from as far as Massachusetts. Cerase said that the photos and videos that they have been posting on the Facebook page of her progress throughout the recovery time has caught the eye of dog lovers throughout the country.
Squirrel’s rescuer said she would love to be able to adopt Squirrel, but won’t be able to take her in because she already has two dogs of her own. She is trying to interest one of her friends in adopting her so that she will remain local and the two can visit.
When Squirrel finally does get adopted, it’s safe to say her presence at the Humane Society will be sorely missed.
“You’re starting to look good kid. I think you’re going to look real good when your hair grows in,” Cerase said to Squirrel. “You’re gonna turn out to be a real good dog kid.”
For updates about Squirrel or how to adopt a pet from the Humane Society visit the Robeson County Humane Society’s Facebook page, or on their website robesonhumanesociety.org
Jack Frederick is an intern for The Robesonian.