On a cold January night, a man living in Earlton, New York, opened his front door and found an unexpected visitor. It was a skinny, hairless dog who was shivering in the freezing air — and the man had no idea where she’d come from.
The man brought the dog inside and called the police, who then took her to the shelter. When the staff set eyes on the dog, now named Penny, their hearts broke.
It turned out that Penny had a severe skin condition called demodex mange, which is caused by mites burrowing into a dog’s skin.
If left untreated, demodex mange can be deadly, Chris Reeder, a board-certified vet at BluePearl Veterinary Hospital in Franklin, Tennessee, told The Dodo. “Generally, it’s more debilitating than fatal, but in certain situations it can be,” he said.
While Penny had managed to stay alive, the mange had taken a heavy toll on her health — she’d lost most of her fur, leaving her with dry, flaky skin that had become infected and scabby.
But with medical treatment and lots of loving care, Penny got better — and more quickly than anyone expected. “Within one week, she looked like a different dog,” Perez said. “The vet was pretty impressed with her recovery.”
As more weeks ticked by, Penny recovered even more. Now her mange is completely gone, although her hair may never completely grow back, Perez explained.
As Penny has been recovering, the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA has been working with local police to find the person who’d abandoned Penny. Within 24 hours, Penny’s former owner was identified, and police arrested him on animal cruelty charges. If convicted, the former owner could face a $1,000 fine and jail time.
Everyone involved with Penny’s case is pleased that justice may be served — but they’re even happier about the couple who recently adopted Penny.
Penny will leave on Saturday to start her new life, and the shelter staff couldn’t be more delighted.