“Her entire head and face were swollen,” Dana Hersl, the manager of BARCS emergency medical department, told The Dodo. “She was only able to open her eyes about 3 millimeters. She also had wounds to her front left leg.”
The puppy had likely been bitten by another animal, Hersl said, and then someone tossed her away without any concern for her injuries. The puppy was going to require around-the-clock care — so Hersl volunteered to foster her until she was well enough to be adopted.
“My boyfriend and I picked her up from the ER and instantly fell in love with this itty bitty being that was so swollen,” Hersl said. “I couldn’t even make out her face. Once I looked her up and read the memos on how and where she was found, it made us want to love her even more.”
On the way home, as Hersl cradled the puppy in her lap, “I Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & the Blowfish came on the radio. The couple decided to name her Hootie.
In all, Hootie had a fractured eye, skull and jaw from whatever attack she sustained before being left in the dumpster. She didn’t feel well at all — but she was in the perfect place to heal. Hersl cared for Hootie around the clock, administering medication and giving her cuddles as she napped for most of the day.
The puppy could barely open her mouth to eat, so Hersl fed her frequent meals of pureed and moistened food. Luckily, Hootie could sip water on her own.
As Hootie’s swollen face started to improve over the next few weeks, she was able to really start experiencing what being a puppy is about. She started having enough energy to play with toys, go on walks and chase her foster siblings all around the house. And, for the first time, she was able to finally eat whole food and treats.
“It didn’t take long for her personality to take over the wounds,” Hersl said. “Hootie wanted to chew on everything, play with the other animals (we have three dogs and a cat) and run zoomies around the house.”
Hootie is becoming stronger and more spunky by the day — and now at 3 months old, she spends her days romping around with her foster family’s dogs and sweetly trying to make friends with their cat. She’s also become close friends with Hersl’s son, who is 6 years old.
Hootie loves everyone she meets, but is especially smitten with the other dogs — likely because she’s been without a friend for most of her short life. Hersl hopes to find Hootie a family that has other animals and even children who will be able to give her all the love and attention she deserves.
In the next few weeks, Hootie will be spayed and then, once her injuries are officially cleared, she will be put up for adoption.
“A dog sibling that can show her how to grow up being a playful yet respectful dog would be best,” Hersl said. “A motherly K9 would be great. She lost [having that bond] as a puppy, so she would benefit from that in her new home.”
Until then, Hootie is having a blast making the most of her second chance at life — and just being the wild little puppy she is.
“She rules the household,” Hersl said. “You would never know that this little bundle of craziness experienced something so traumatic.”