Officer Barbara Jones of Richmond Animal Care and Control found the pit bull under some bushes. She was covered with a blanket which did little to protect the dog from the freezing temperatures of this cold December morning. Jones pulled the blanket back, saw the condition of the dog underneath, and sprang into action. Without Jones' help, it was clear that this dog wouldn't survive her extensive injuries.
Jones rushed the dog to the Virginia Veterinary Center where the dog was diagnosed with hypothermia. She also had multiple bite wounds all over he head and face, some old and infected while others newer. An infection had caused the dog's eyes to close up entirely, and the veterinarians feared she would never be able to see again.
The dog was named Penelope, and her wounds were those similar to what veterinarians had seen in dogs used as bait dogs in dogfighting rings. Further exams and tests also found holes in Penelope's sinuses as well as a fracture. She would also need to start heartworm treatment once she was stronger and healthier. This poor girl, only three or four-years-old, had been through so much pain and hurt.
But this courageous dog kept wanting to fight for her life, even as further medical tests showed the need for surgeries and treatments. A dental exam showed multiple broken teeth and a fractured lower jaw. Additionally, the holes in Penelope's sinuses were so bad they had burst through the top of her mouth and nasal cavity. With time and surgeries, Penelope's mouth was reconstructed so she could live and eat normally.
Meanwhile, with treatment, Penelope's eye infection disappeared, and the best news of all: she could see out of both eyes!
Despite everything that his dog had been through, she not only wanted to live, but she wanted to show her gratitude to all the people who helped give her a chance at a good life. “She seems to focus in on all the good she was now surrounded with,” said Amy McCracken, one of the RACC volunteers, “instead of withdrawing from humans [based on her past].”
Soon Penelope was available for adoption, and she found a loving home with Kelli Rice and her daughter Addyson. They had recently lost their dog of sixteen years. They had also been following Penelope's story in the news and wanted to give this dog the good life she so desperately deserved. On New Years' Day, Rice brought Penelope home, and a wonderful new chapter began for this loving dog. She is already house trained, shakes paw, and loves belly rubs!
Penelope will need further medical care --- she starts heartworm treatment soon --- but at least she is now in the right hands with owners and rescuers who will make sure she never suffers again. “She is the best dog ever,” Rice declared.