Hopey, a 3-year-old Daschund, is not one for the spotlight. She flinches at the clicks of a camera taking pictures of her, instead preferring to curl up in a dog bed under the front desk of Cherokee Veterinary Hospital in Lodi.
She is nearly fully wrapped in a purple and turquoise bandage. Only Hopey's legs, neck, face and tail are free. Under the bandage is a terrible sight — a 14-inch-long split down her back that a week ago was in some places 6 inches wide.
Hopey was found May 29 heading into a shelter in Stockton, said Patricia Sherman, director and co-founder of Animal Friends Connection.
According to Sherman, Hopey's owner had moved to Lodi recently from Lexington, Ky., but had died. Before passing away, Hopey's owner had left the dog with another family.
The people that had brought Hopey to the shelter in Stockton did not know what to do.
The dog was horrifically injured, Sherman said. A volunteer with Animal Friends Connection saw Hopey in line at the shelter, waiting to be dropped off.
The dog clearly needed immediate attention, Sherman said, so the volunteer brought Hopey back to Lodi to be treated at the Cherokee Veterinary Hospital on South Cherokee Lane.
Marilyn Wiley, a veterinary technician at the hospital, said Hopey had lost a lot of blood when she was brought in. A majority of the skin on her back had been completely lifted from Hopey's body.
And yet Hopey did not complain.
"She is a very stoic, brave dog," Wiley said.
All it took was a sedative to keep Hopey calm while a doctor and veterinary technicians gently scrapped the remaining dead skin from Hopey's back.
The wound cut deep into Hopey's body, past layers of skin, straight down to pink flesh.
"I saw her a couple of days after she was brought in, and when I saw her back, I went outside and just started sobbing," Sherman said. "I can't even imagine an animal going through that."
It is still unknown how exactly Hopey's skin lifted and split from her body. There is some speculation that it could have been a thermal or a chemical burn. Another animal could have possibly grabbed her and shook her, Wiley said.
But in the week and a half since she was rescued, Hopey has healed tremendously, Wiley added.
The wound is down to two inches wide, roughly, and a daily bath followed by a pat-down with granulated sugar and a new bandage has seemed to be the ticket in curing Hopey.
She likes to waddle around the office on occasion, her wrap and her wound barely making her flinch.
Hopey may need a skin graft, or she may need surgery to full close the wound — but time will tell, Wiley said.
For now, Hopey will continue to rest and heal. In addition to her baths, the only other treatment she is receiving other than lots of love is some antibiotics.
For such an extensive injury, it is very simply medical care, Wiley stated.
"She is sweet, she is house-trained, she is just a great dog," Wiley said.
Contact Katie Nelson at email@example.com.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Want to help with Hopey's recovery? Please send donations to:
Animal Friends Connection
P.O. Box 2314
Lodi, CA 95241
For more information, please call 209-365-0535.