The Main Stream

Mar 22, 2012 9:24 PM

Abandoned dog recovering after nearly starving to death

TUCSON- She was skin and bones and on the brink of death, until an animal lover spotted a dog now named Dahlia and decided to save her.

It happened about five weeks ago on the city's Southwest side. Contractor Grant Lovallo spotted Dahlia on someone's doorstep. At the time she weighed just 26 pounds. She is supposed to weigh at least 50 pounds. "I'm not an expert, but I don't think she had very long," Lovallo says.

Lovallo couldn't say no, so he picked Dahlia up and took her to an animal care clinic. "When I saw the dog you think oh I'm busy and life gets in the way, but your heart goes out, and I just thought about what my kids might do, Lovallo says. "They'd rush right over and grab her and start caring for her."

The animal care clinic contacted the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. The vet found pieces of asphalt and a honey packet inside Dahlia's stomach. They say she was eating anything she could find. "In my opinion this was the skinniest dog I had ever seen that was still able to stand up on its own," Animal Cruelty Investigator Michael Duffey says.

Duffey believes Dahlia's previous owner starved her. "We've been getting lots of skinny animals and we don't know if it's because of the depressed economy and people have just stopped feeding their animals, or if they don't want to care for their animals so they're just turning them loose into the community," Duffey says.

After weeks of medical attention, today Dahlia lives with a foster family. She walks on her own and weighs nearly 50 pounds. "She has a really strong will to live and from the beginning she has just really rallied," Foster Parent Linda Scheel says. "Even though she was too weak to eat or drink without assistance, she always wanted to eat and drink."

Dahlia will stay with Scheel for another two to three weeks, until she's ready for adoption. Lovallo hopes to make that adoption. "I just think she deserves better," Lovallo says.

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