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On her way home from Waterville on Thursday, Carrie Grindle of Oregon found her route blocked by a passing train in East Toledo. So she took a detour onto Willard Street.
“And there she was in the middle of the road,” Mrs. Grindle said. “I could not believe my eyes.”
A small, young, and underweight “pit bull” mix with severe injuries to her face had wandered onto Willard near Hirzel Street. Her wounds were oozing with infection, and her face was so swollen her eyes were forced completely shut. Her nose and muzzle were also raw and ballooned.
To keep her in place while the Lucas County Canine Care & Control was on the way to get her, Mrs. Grindle fed the dog food she had purchased for her children and gave her water. After posting about her on the Toledo Area Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, a few others came with leashes to help. Mrs. Grindle’s daughter, Samantha, came with dog food and began petting her.
“She was giving kisses,” Mrs. Grindle said. “Whatever hell she went through, she seems to have the greatest disposition for the pain she was in.”
The white dog, now named Helen, is being cared for at the county shelter. If no one claims her, she will be transferred to the Lucas County Pit Crew on Tuesday.
While her rescuer thought Helen had been burned, the shelter’s theory is her wounds are actually old dog bites. The swelling and pus has caused some of the skin to become very irritated and deep red, and some of the flesh was necrotic.
“The skin gets really raw and it kind of peels off, almost,” Director Julie Lyle said.
Despite her pain, Ms. Lyle said Helen was very tolerant and did not growl or snap as staff worked to carefully clean her wounds. Instead, she was lapping up the attention.
“She’s very affectionate,” Ms. Lyle said. “She’s definitely itchy or bothered somehow by [her injuries]. She really wants to rub her face on your clothes.”
Though still swollen, swelling receded enough by Friday morning that the shelter was able to determine Helen can see. She was sedated later in the day for a more thorough examination and additional cleaning of her wounds.
Helen’s care is being paid for by Cutie’s Fund, created to help dogs at the county shelter with high-cost medical needs. Ms. Lyle said of the multitude of infected wounds she’s seen at the shelter, Helen’s predicament is one of the worst.
Given the level of infection, Ms. Lyle said Helen’s injuries had probably gone untreated for weeks. She will have scarring, but no one will know for a while yet if there may be other lasting effects.
The shelter was initially concerned about her hearing because many white dogs are born deaf. Ms. Lyle talked to the dog when removing her from the van and she wagged in response, but turned her head the wrong way to search for the source of the sound. It’s unknown if that is simply a temporary problem because of the swelling and infection, or if she does have some permanent hearing trouble.
Jean Keating, executive director of the Lucas County Pit Crew, said Helen’s situation is heart-wrenching and the rescue happens to have a space available.
“We’ve taken in a lot of dogs from [the county shelter] with all kinds of medical concerns,” she said. “We have a very dedicated, great group of fosters who are very knowledgeable and diligent about the care they give.”
Ms. Keating theorizes that Helen was an owned dog who was injured, left untreated, then dumped.
“In that neighborhood, there’s nowhere for her to hide for that long, especially if she’s been walking around blind,” she said. “Someone would have seen her before now.”
The Pit Crew has already taken calls with possible leads about Helen’s situation. The organization is collecting the information and will forward any credible tips to the Toledo Area Humane Society for a possible animal cruelty investigation.
“I’m hoping that pans out,” Ms. Keating said.
Anyone with information about Helen is asked to contact the Pit Crew at 419-708-8848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Messages can also be left on the humane society’s animal cruelty tip line: 419-891-9777.
How to donate
Created in November, 2012, Cutie's Fund has raised about $82,000 and helped more than 100 dogs with a wide variety of problems such as broken bones, embedded collars, heartworm, hip dysplasia, severe wounds, emaciation, and extreme illness.
The fund’s namesake was a Chihuahua brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in its birth canal. The bill for treatment was more than $1,400.
The first $5,000 in public donations was matched by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade. The fund was seeded with a $5,000 donation from John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, and Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications.
Donations to Cutie’s Fund are tax-deductible and may be made in person or mailed to Lucas County Canine Care & Control, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, OH, 43604, or online at lucascountydogs.com/donate/cuties-fund. Checks should be made payable to Lucas County Canine Care & Control with “Cutie’s Fund” specified on the memo line.