When Melanie Labreke spotted a young dog in distress Monday morning near Weatherford, Texas, she didn’t hesitate to act.
“She walked by me and she just looked up at me like, ‘Help me,” Labreke explained to NBC 5 News Dallas-Fort Worth.
Labreke noticed right away that something was wrong with the young Pug mix. She saw with horror the reason for the frightened dog’s swollen face: the dog’s mouth had been forcefully sealed shut, electrical tape wound tightly around her snout, the Pug’s badly injured tongue stuck hanging between her clenched teeth.
Following the rescue, an examination revealed the extent of the dog’s face and mouth injuries, which required more than 100 internal and external stitches to repair wounds so severe that they left four large lacerations in the muscle tissue. Veterinarians at the Bowie Drive Animal Hospital say that it is likely that the poor Pug’s mouth was taped shut and her tongue exposed for at least 24 hours.
Due to the severity of her injuries, veterinarians were worried that the dog might not ever be able to eat on her own again. But Bowie Drive Animal Hospital veterinary technician Rhonda Sears told the Star-Telegram that the recovering dog has been able to drink water and even eat some hard food. Sears also reports that the dog is in good spirits, despite everything that she endured.
“Her tail has not stopped wagging,” Sears explained. “She has a happy tail and a happy heart.”
In fact, because of the progress that she’s made, the young Pug mix has earned the name Hope.
Hope’s story has touched hearts across the country and around the world, with people from as far as England and Canada offering well wishes and donations to the reward fund in hopes that authorities will be able to find the person responsible for torturing the sweet Pug mix.
As of Wednesday evening, that reward fund has reached $35,000, and is being offered in exchange for any information that leads to the arrest of Hope’s abuser. “I can’t imagine the type of person who would do this,” Sears told the Star-Telegram. “I hope I never understand that mindset.”