She's become a bit of a mascot for Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control, but just a couple weeks ago, the future seemed grim for Hope the Chihuahua.
As Animal Control Officer Robert Yuchniuk headed in to work one morning, he arrived to find the frightened older Chihuahua tied to a pipe outside the shelter, her owners nowhere to be found.
"She was in a lot of pain," Yuchniuk explained. "We took her in. We tried to get her cleaned up."
Yuchniuk took pictures that show Hope's nails soovergrown they'd curled around and cut through the pads of her paws so she could barely walk. The problems continued with tumors, rotted teeth and bad skin.
After trimming her nails and giving her a bath, Yuchniuk turned to Facebook wanting to know who was responsible for the Chihuaha's condition. Instead of answers, he found hope – the dog's namesake.
"If I didn't have the support of the public, she honestly wouldn't have gotten that medical attention that she needed," said Yuchniuk.
Thousands of Facebook users commented on his post, leaving words of support and sending in donations. With the help of Goodfriends Veterinary Clinic, the pup's mounting health problems were solved.
"Her veterinary care and her health needs have been neglected for some time, but they weren't insurmountable," said Dr. Mark Beebe of Goodfriends Veterinary Clinic.
Now, thanks to the help of a concerned community, the six-pound Chihuahua who was once abandoned is on her way to a loving new home.
"She gave us all hope – hope that she would turn around and pull through, and I think she has hope for a good future," said Yuchniuk.
The shelter says they've already narrowed down the list of adoption candidates. If all goes according to plan, Hope will go home with her new family at the end of the week.
The shelter exists almost entirely on donations. If you'd like to donate you can make checks payable to the Town of Waterford and send them to the following address:
41 Avery Lane
Waterford, CT 06385