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February 11, 2013

'A super dog': Abused canine recovers with help of Pittsburgh family

SOMERSET — Dragger is one lucky dog.

The 4-year-old English bulldog was found starved, dehydrated, emaciated, covered with sores and with eyes that were crusted shut.

Now, two months after being rescued by state police in Somerset and the Somerset County Humane Society, Dragger is heavier, healthier and happier.

“He’s in good shape,” said Tina Thompson, an officer with the Humane Society. “He’s healthy and getting ready to go to the vet to be neutered.”

Authorities seized Dragger from a trailer court in Somerset on Dec. 5.

A week later, authorities found a 5- or 6-year-old boxer named Dixie in similar condition outside a home in Confluence.

Both animals were sent to the Laurel Highlands Animal Hospital for treatment.

Both owners face animal cruelty charges.

Dragger was later taken to Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, where he had surgery to save his right eye.

The eye is healing and Dragger is expected to regain 90 percent of his sight, Thompson said.

Once weighing only 27 pounds, Dragger now weighs about 45 pounds.

Thompson credits the community outpouring for saving Dragger and Dixie. Dixie is in foster care.

About $10,000 poured in from businesses and individuals who read about the abused animals, she said.

She described the response as “overwhelming.”

“We’re so pleased to see that there are people who care for these dogs who lived in the most inhumane conditions,” Thompson said.

Pittsburgh resident David Meade and his family have been caring for Dragger since he was found.

They plan to keep him.

“He’s just a super dog,” Meade said. “I think he realizes he was given a second chance.”

Caring for the canine hasn’t been easy.

“The care that’s required to rehabilitate a dog that has been neglected to this degree is something that requires so much time,” Thompson said. “Dave and his family (wife and daughter) graciously offered to help.”

Dragger’s recovery included a rigid feeding schedule, several medications and four types of eye drops, she said.

“They’ve done a wonderful job,” Thompson said.

 Meade said his family once had a bulldog named JoJo but needed to have her put down at age 12. Now Dragger fills the void.

“He’s given us much more than we’ve given him,” Meade said. “Just the love and companionship.

“He’ll put his head on you and you can tell that he’s content.”

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