The workers called Louisville Metro Animal Services’ (LMAS) dispatch. An animal control officer responded and rushed the six-month-old puppy back to the LMAS Animal Care Center. Their veterinarian believed the dog may have suffered a chemical burn about a week prior. That’s when Kristin Seaman, Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) Transport Manager, heard about Alley and offered to take her to KHS for treatment. If Alley was to survive, she would need round-the-clock care.
Dr. Emily Bewley, KHS Shelter Veterinarian, remembers when Alley arrived.
“Her wounds were horrific. Alley’s back right leg was completely de-gloved, and she was in danger of contracting a life-threatening infection,” says Dr. Bewley.
The Long Process of Healing
Dr. Bewley sedated Alley so her team could begin the process of examining and cleaning Alley’s wounds. As they worked, skin continued to peel off. Alley also had a tar-like substance over much of her head and front right leg that the team carefully removed. The team was unable to discover what the substance was or what chemical may have caused such serious burns.
“As animal lovers, it is impossible to comprehend why someone would want to hurt an animal like Alley,” says Dr. Bewley.
Dr. Bewley was unsure if Alley’s leg could be saved, but she was willing to try. Every day, the veterinary team carefully unwrapped the bandages, cleaned Alley’s wounds and re-bandaged her leg. To keep the bandages dry, they dressed Alley in toddler pants. They monitored Alley to ensure she was comfortable and not in pain. Through it all, Alley remained her sweet, wiggly self: begging for attention and kissing the veterinary team as they dressed her bandages.
Turning a Corner
After a few weeks of care, Alley turned a corner: her leg was starting to heal! With this good news, it was time to find a temporary foster home for her. Up until this time, Alley had been living in the veterinary suite at the Sam Swope Pet Treatment & Lifesaving Center (formerly the Main Campus). She had her own bed and toys, and she enjoyed visiting the other dog and cat residents who were there for treatment. But growing up in a veterinary suite is not the same as a loving home.
That’s where nursing student Katie Burke and her boyfriend, Brett Hankison, came in. Katie and Brett, a police officer, have fostered over 30 animals in their home over the last three years. With Katie’s nursing experience, she was comfortable changing Alley’s bandages. Katie brought Alley back to KHS every Monday so the veterinary team could monitor her progress.
Katie says fostering Alley has been a joy.
“She is the happiest puppy. She loves to cuddle, she gives kisses, and she’s super playful with the other dogs,” says Katie. Alley particularly likes to play with Brett’s narcotics dog.
“After all Alley has gone through, it is amazing how loving she is,” says Katie. “She’s got this unbreakable spirit.”