A six-month-old pup, Lemon, was surrendered to the Dallas Animal Services in November due to injuries sustained in a dog fight. A chilling story of cruelty and neglect was etched across her body. Despite her grim start, Lemon’s recovery was nothing short of remarkable.
“I met Lemon at one of the DAS spot tagging events,” said Dallas Pets Alive! Medical Director and foster mom, Jenny Wolff. “The staff knew me and asked if I knew anyone interested in an injured dog. She went home with me that day!”
When Wolff first brought Lemon home, she thought she might be blind because she kept running into walls. But after wiping off her face, she was shocked to discover blood pooling behind Lemon’s corneas.
In her initial veterinary exam, Lemon presented with a myriad of medical afflictions. Her sight was clouded by scleral hemorrhaging (broken blood vessels) and hyphema (inner-eye bleeding) — injuries that indicate strangulation. Her coat was an excessively matted shroud, causing Lemon to suffer from a skin infection. She had an abscessed cyst on the back of her left ear, lacerations wounds around her head and neck, and a positive heartworm test on top of all that. She was terrified and tender from swelling, so the team decided to sedate to flush her wounds and shave her entire body. She was then placed on a heartworm treatment plan.
“Lemon did well in my senior pack but had some emotional trauma from what she endured. She needed slow intros with other dogs until she could trust they wouldn’t hurt her,” said Wolff.
Wolff, who exclusively fosters medical dogs, had never seen a dog with traumatic wounds but felt prepared for the challenge through her work as a nurse. She knew that just like her human patients, some dog cases require more recovery time than others.
At her follow-up veterinary appointment, marvelous news, the damage to her eyes had almost completely resolved. As days turned into weeks and her vision returned to normal, Lemon’s transformation became more profound and her confidence began to shine through. With thoughtful patience, she learned to trust again, regain her confidence, and let go of the shadows of her past.
Fortuitously, just before Christmas 2022, Lemon (now Liberty) found her forever home where she reigns as an only pet, basking in undivided attention and boundless affection. Now, in the warmth of her new family, her most challenging battles involve nothing more than playful skirmishes and the irresistible lure of afternoon naps.