A dog that appears to have been horribly abused in another state is being rehabilitated in Monroe County, Illinois.
"Mardi is precious. Just precious," said Robbie Devenport of the dog that`s found his way into her home and her heart.
He is an unbelievably happy puppy, to have suffered unthinkable cruelty.
"Oh this is one of the worst cases we`ve ever seen of neglect and abuse," said Paula Hutchinson, President of the Humane Society of Monroe County.
Mardi is a German shepherd pup, about seven months old. He is skinny, and he`s been burned over about one-fifth of his body. His fur is gone, and much of his skin is too.
"His tongue isn`t burnt from possibly a chemical so we`re thinking maybe scalding water," explained Hutchinson.
The burns cover much of his right side, his legs, and his chest. He is also about 15 pounds underweight. The wounds are improving. But they are still awful to see. Mardi has cheated death more than once.
"The person who found him found him was on vacation visiting his parents in Mississippi," explains Hutchinson, "and there are not a lot of no-kill shelters down there. He brought him back hoping to find a shelter here and had a hard time finding a shelter here too."
Mardi ended up with a local vet, who was about to euthanize him, but the vet tried one more option: he called a rescue group, which called the Humane Society of Monroe County, which took him in and found a foster mom in Robbie.
"That`s just what we do," she said. "There`s no way you say no. No way at all. I`d never say no."
Robbie has been fostering for years, but she`s never had a dog with such severe injuries. "He has antibiotics and pain medication twice a day, and the salve is put on at least twice a day," she explained.
His treatments are expensive. The Humane Society of Monroe County is hoping people donate to their Pets In Need fund to help with the cost. The website is www.helpingstrays.org.
"But I`m able to touch a lot of the wound area now without him balking at it, so he`s doing great," she said.
Mardi is a laid back, happy go lucky dog. He lapped up treats and soaked up love Monday afternoon. His tail wagged and he was comfortable being the center of attention. "He`s a little skittish, but not much," said Robbie.
Veterinarian Dr. Alec Flaum said, "That pretty much speaks to the strength of their will and spirit. That`s why I like being a vet as opposed to a physician. My patients don`t complain, they get on with what they do and heal as best they can."
Mardi is spelled the way it is because he was discovered Mardi Gras weekend. A time many find sin was a time Mardi found salvation.
"He`s gonna make a very good boy for someone down the line when they adopt him," said Hutchinson.