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'Lucky' dog getting new leash on life

February 08, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

MARION, Pa. - For a dog that suffered a broken leg and fractures to its jaw, an eye socket and sternum when it was thrown from a pickup truck last month, the name Lucky Me might seem a misnomer, but the future for this Lhasa apso mix is looking brighter and his improving fortunes could benefit dozens of other animals at Greener Pastures No Kill Animal Rescue.

Occasionally trying to gnaw on the bandage covering his right rear leg, Lucky Me received visitors Monday at the Franklin County animal shelter run by Samantha Frey.

Melonie Wright and Luis Torres, students at Stevens Elementary School in Chambersburg, Pa., stopped by with $165 collected by students last week to help pay the dog's medical bills.

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Though he still has to hobble around on three legs and his jaw is wired shut, Lucky Me is much improved from the condition he was in when Jolene Mihalick of McConnellsburg, Pa., found him on Jan. 2. She was driving behind a pickup on U.S. 30 that morning when "I saw something come out of the window and I swerved to miss it."

"I thought they were just throwing trash out," said Mihalick, but then she saw there was an injured animal in the bag.

"His little chest was split open and his mouth was all bloody," she said.

Mihalick said she phoned a co-worker, who told her about Greener Pastures on Social Island Road near Marion.

Frey said Franklin Veterinary Associates patched Lucky Me back together, charging her about $1,000. The dog also was flea-ridden and malnourished when he was found, she said.

"They cut me a major break," she said of the bill. Lucky Me will need additional treatments and medications and still could loose the badly injured leg.

"He's got to keep the cast and his jaw wired for about eight more weeks," said Frey. She said she has to change the dressing on the leg three times a day to guard against infection.

Like the children at Stevens Elementary, people in the area have come to Lucky Me's aid, Frey said. Postal workers, clubs, businesses and individuals have made donations in Lucky Me's name, with some proposing to hold fund-raising events for the dog, she said.

"A lot of animals that get hurt we can't help. At least we can help this one," Wright said as she cuddled Lucky Me.

"This story brought tears to my eyes. I have two wonderful dogs. They bark a little, but are a wonderful comfort to me," wrote a retired Marine colonel who included a check with his letter.

Several also wrote about the punishment they would like to see meted out to the person who tossed the dog from the truck. Frey said police have been unable to find the driver of the truck.

"It's great that we can take care of this dog, but it's raised a lot of awareness" about the shelter, Frey said. Money raised that exceeds what is needed to care for Lucky Me will be used to support Greener Pastures, Frey said.

"Where there's one story like this, there are 10 I have to turn down," Frey said.

With 18 dogs, approximately 44 cats, nine horses, four donkeys, plus sheep, goats, pigs and assorted other animals that were abused, neglected or used in animal research programs, Frey said veterinary and feed bills are a burden. The money raised by the students will cover her hay bill for a week, she said.

Media coverage has helped. Frey said an ABC affiliate television station in Harrisburg, Pa., did a story that was picked up by other affiliates across the country and she has heard from people as far away as Miami.

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, the Animal Planet cable channel and a dog food company also have contacted her about possible projects, Frey said.

She has received dozens of offers to adopt Lucky Me. Before making a decision, Frey is asking people to send in an essay telling why they want the dog and some information about what kind of home environment he will have.

Lucky Me, however, may be destined for Greener Pastures.

"He could stay here forever. I love him," Frey said.

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