Abandoned and starved, the black Lab puppy found late last week on the steps of the Dayton Community Center was given a 25 percent chance of survival by veterinarians.
“She was on death’s door,” said Helen Houston, who learned of the puppy’s plight on a social media page for Dayton residents.
As soon as she laid eyes on the limp, languid creature, Houston was committed.
“She just touched my heart,” she said. “She wanted to fight. I thought, I’m going to help her fight. ”
Houston first took the dog — with its new moniker Charlie — to DOCS Veterinary Hospital in Carson City, where she learned the puppy was about 6 weeks old, suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and an unknown virus.
Certain Charlie would not survive the night otherwise, Houston took her to the Animal Emergency Center in Reno, where she spent the weekend. On Monday, the puppy was transferred to Dayton Riverside Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Danny Larson said its hard to know exactly what’s wrong with the dog. Although tests are negative for parvo, a common often fatal canine virus, Larson said it can’t be completely ruled out.
“It’s all supportive care trying to provide her with the things she needs to stay alive,” he said. “It’s basically trying to get some calories into her and keep her hydrated with some antibiotics to fight off any infections.”
He said Charlie needs to build up her strength, but the odds are against her.
“Her prognosis is poor,” he said. “Guarded at best.”
While Houston is taking Charlie in as her own, she is quick to point out that the community rescued the pup. Several people responded to the notification on the Dayton Peeps page on Facebook, and Houston’s friend Stacy Masters created an additional page, Saving Charlie Dayton, to keep member updated on the puppy’s progress.
“I think she’s worth saving,” Masters said. “I think she deserves a second chance.”
Houston said she had a black Lab that she adored years ago, when her children were young.
“I never really wanted another dog until I fell in love with Charlie,” she said. “I don’t know what it was that made me just melt, but I did.”
Fundraisers set up for Charlie have collected more than $1,500. While vet bills are still piling up, Houston said she has been overwhelmed at the support.
“This little puppy has no idea how many people she has rooting for her,” Houston said. “She just has to pull through.
“As long as she’s willing to fight, I’m going to fight right there with her.”
“This little puppy has no idea how many people she has rooting for her.”