Susan H. is a long-time volunteer at the ASPCA. A regular fixture at our Adoption Center, she has seen countless animals come through our doors, and over the years she’s even adopted a few. But none of them have a story quite like Cher, an 8-year-old Shih Tzu who became the newest member of Susan’s family in March. Cher’s beginning is so horrific, it’s almost hard to believe. But the outcome of her story, her very “Happy Tail,” is too inspiring not to share. Here’s what happened.
In January, NYPD and ASPCA responders were called to a grocery store parking lot in the Bronx, New York. Early reports described an abused, neglected dog that had been shoved into a garbage bag and abandoned. Once at the scene, however, responders were shocked to discover not one but two dogs in the garbage bag—their fur was so severely matted that they were stuck together. Both Shih Tzus, the male, age 2, and the female, age 8, were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate treatment.
At the hospital, doctors began the delicate task of separating the two dogs, who came to be known as Sonny and Cher. Sonny was suffering from some skin problems, and Cher, the older of the two, was diagnosed with rotting teeth, a mammary tumor, an irregular heartbeat, and perpetual dry eyes. After treatment, she began recovery in the Anti-Cruelty Group (ACG) unit of the hospital, which is where Susan first encountered the tiny 10-lb. pup.
“I immediately fell in love with Cher,” Susan recalls, but she was told that the dog needed a few more weeks to recover. In a case of such cruelty, it might be tempting to assume that Cher was dispirited, but, amazingly, she could not have been sweeter. The staff even noted that she “loves every person she meets.” Susan put her name down and waited patiently, and on March 22, Cher was cleared for adoption. With a wagging tail and an open heart, the sweet pup went home with Susan that same day. Sonny was adopted into another loving home soon after, on April 12.
When asked how Cher is adjusting to her new life, Susan sounded so in love. “Cher is very affectionate and cuddly and very adorable,” she says, “which I find surprising given her situation.” Susan has another dog, Wintuck, adopted from the ASPCA in 2012, and the two get along really well.
To mark Cher’s new beginning, Susan also gave her a fresh new name: Daisy. Daisy will need daily medication for the rest of her life, and must visit a cardiologist regularly. But the small Shih Tzu doesn’t let her past get her down, and she now spends her days happy, playing, and, most importantly, loved.
Do you have a Happy Tail you’d like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it on the blog!
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