VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- After spending only 24 hours at Hope for Life Rescue, an animal shelter in Virginia Beach, Ziggy is making progress.
While her legs still shaky, the puppy, was curiously walking around shelter Tuesday – a contrast to when she first arrived.
“She was unable to move; she couldn’t even lift her head,” said Danielle Rugenus, the office manager at Hope for Life Rescue. “You can see her shaking on the back end here; that’s just because of the muscle tone she lost.”
The lab hound mix, who is less than a year old, was found hungry, weak and severely underweight. She’s so thin, her bones can be seen through her skin.
“She's weighing 26 pounds currently when she should be weighing roughly 50 [pounds],” said Rugenus. “She has no muscle tone to her body, and she is losing clumps of hair right now just from the malnutrition.”
Ziggy was brought to Hope for Life Rescue Monday afternoon after the dog’s owner surrendered her to an animal control officer. The owner’s roommate made the call after finding the pup in a small crate, 24 inches by 18 by 19, where they believe she spent most her time.
Rugenus believes Ziggy hasn’t eaten in several weeks.
“When she came in, we were all very emotional,” she said. “Then for the rest of the night, it was very much solemn because you just don't know where someone's mind is that does that. We want to make sure the people that did this to her know that this is not okay; that this is beyond disbelief to see something like this.”
Ziggy is getting around-the-clock care slowly gaining strength and anxiously overcoming her timidness.
“She’s eating every two to four hours,” Rugenus said. “She has no bark. Currently, when you do see her trying to bark, her mouth just kind of opens and closes. It's almost like her voice box has been taken out. That could be due to the fact that she's barked excessively for her life, or could be possibly from the malnutrition, as well.”
Community members have stepped up in a big way to show support. They donated items, including toys, beds, and food. People also donated a total of $3,500 so far to help Ziggy with medical expenses and ongoing care.
“We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts,” said Rugenus. “We do appreciate everyone wanting to help out this sweet girl because she deserves the world.”
Though it won’t be easy, Rugenus is hopeful Ziggy will make a full recovery.
“I think with the muscle tone being lost, it's going to take several weeks for her to gain that back to be able to walk fully and be able to stand back up as she's laying down,” she said.
Within time, Ziggy will be ready for adoption because the loveable, tail wagging pup has much more love to give.
“We'll be going through each individual file, and we will be picking out the best applicant that will be able to give her all the love in the world,” said Rugenus.
According to animal control, the owner could be facing animal cruelty charges. The investigation is ongoing.
If you'd like to help Ziggy, click here.