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Rumor beats the odds
Dog now healthy, happy and at home
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Jimmy Hundley poses with Rumor, the dog he adopted last month from the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA. Rumor was brought to the SPCA by animal control officers after having been left unattended in a pen without access to food or water. (Bulletin photo by Sam Jackson)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

It is a fact that Rumor has a new home.

The dog that was found in March by Henry County animal control officers isolated in a pen and near starvation has been living in Axton for about a month with her new owner, Jimmy Hundley and his family.

Hundley said he went to the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA looking for a dog and Rumor jumped out at him — literally.

“She wanted to play when we got over there,” he said. “She was jumping up on her cage (as if to say) ‘pick me, pick me.’ That was the reason we were looking at her.”

Hundley wasn’t, it turns out, looking at Rumor because he had heard her story.

“We didn’t know all this until we got to the SPCA,” he said. “When I first saw her, I thought she might have been a fighting dog with all those wounds on her.”

Animal control officers seized the 3-year-old female pit bull terrier mix in March and took her to a veterinarian for treatment and evaluation. She had been confined to a pen without access to food or water and was near starvation, according to previous Bulletin reports.

The dog’s then-owner pleaded guilty in Henry County General District Court to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all suspended; a $500 fine; and $91 in court costs. After that, Rumor was handed over to the SPCA.

Chase Inman, the SPCA’s marketing director and volunteer coordinator, said Rumor arrived weighing 34 pounds and with ulcers all over her body. Her spine, rib cage and plates of her skull were visible, she said.

Despite the dog’s condition, Inman said it immediately was clear she had not suffered psychological damage.

“She had such a great personality she didn’t need much rehabilitation, so I think she was a perfect medley of things to make her perfect for adoption,” she said.

Hundley said Rumor now weighs about 45 or 50 pounds. He and his son Jacob took her to a veterinarian after adopting her and Rumor was given a clean bill of health.

“She loves to eat,” Hundley said. “She’s picking up weight; her coat’s started looking good.” He added that most of her wounds have healed.

With the attention Rumor had received, Inman said she was shocked that the family that eventually adopted her had not heard her story. However, that was best for all involved.

“We want our animals to get publicity, but we don’t want people to adopt them because of that,” she said. “We want them to be a good match” for the adoptive family.

One thing that surprised Hundley after he learned about Rumor’s past was that she was not timid or difficult to approach. Not only did Hundley and his son choose her for her attitude, but he said she also is “very patient” around his 1-year-old granddaughter when she comes to visit. “She loves that baby,” he said.

“I figured she’d be standoffish or scared, but she must be pretty resilient,” Hundley said.

“She loves to play and have a good time,” he added.

Hundley added that after her previous living arrangement in an outdoor pen, Rumor now is a house dog who runs freely, constrained by an invisible fence. One of her favorite places to sleep is near his chair, he said.

Inman said Rumor’s story was encouraging for workers at the SPCA who seek someday to make Henry County a no-kill community.

“I think it gives everybody hope,” she said. “Rumor was an incredible case because she kind of beat all her odds. She was hidden back where she easily may not have been noticed, and in a couple more days” she might not have survived.

The fact that Rumor beat the odds and now is happily in a new home is “uplifting,” Inman added.

 

 
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