When Susanna was found, she had almost given up hope.
The young dog had been abandoned by her owner in a notorious Florida garbage dump and was found leaning against a dumpster, barely able to move. She was malnourished, exhausted and covered in fleas and ticks. She could not lift her head or walk.
Local rescuer Isabel Zapata often looks for abandoned animals in this place and found poor Susanna like this in early May. She called Gulfstream Guardian Angels Rottweiler Rescue and the group immediately agreed to take her in.
,,Animals are routinely thrown in there until their death.” Laurie Kardon, a board member of the rescue center, reported The Dodo. ,,It’s an extreme busy place because a lot of trucks go by at high speed. It’s very upsetting. There are so many who don’t make it.”
When Susanna was unable to walk, Zapata and others lifted her onto a tarp and put her in their truck. She was in bad shape, but she was finally safe.
The rescuers took Susanna to the nearest animal clinic, where they gave her fluids and took blood samples. She was found to be paralyzed and no one knew why. It is not known if she will ever walk again.
After several days of tests and stabilization, Susanna was taken to Clint Moore Animal Hospital in Boca Raton. As they reviewed tests and medical records, they slowly pieced together the harrowing details of Susanna’s past.
She had no spinal problems and no broken bones, but she couldn’t walk, probably because people had hurt her.
,,She had arthritis and physical deformities in her paws, which leads us to believe she was put in a cage from an early age.” Kardon said. ,,She probably spent most of her life there and was used for breeding. And when the breeders are done with the dogs, they throw them out.”
Three-year-old Susanna had already been through a lot, but it was clear she would fight for her life.
,,When I first looked at her, she looked at me and began licking my face.” Kardon said. ,,I first thought was, This is it. This poor soul wants to live. We’re going to do everything we can to get her back on her feet.”
Together, the rescue team and veterinary staff prepared a rescue plan. They would give her good quality food to increase her strength and weight and start physiotherapy if she was able.
She also needed painkillers to ease the stiffness in her fragile muscles and bones.
With plenty of good food and love, Susanna began to have more energy. A week after the rescue operation, the veterinary team took Susanna to the rehabilitation pool to test her walking ability.
She started walking in the water.
,,We were all in tears because we felt relieved.” Kardon said.
Knowing Susanna wanted exercise, the vets regularly took her to the pool to stretch and walk.
Her eyes sparkled again and she started wagging her tail when she met someone.
She was feeling better and it was clear that despite all she had been through, she loved people.
“She’s very happy.” Kardon said. ,,It’s probably the first time in her life she’s felt like this.”
Thanks to further laser treatments and aqua therapy, which relieved the pain in her legs and strengthened them, Susanna gradually recovered.
Now, more than a month after she was found in a dumpster, she is finally strong enough to meet and play with other dogs. She loves them all.
She has also recently discovered the joy of rolling in the grass, which she could never have done without the help of her rescuers and vets.
Seeing how far Susanna has come, Kardon is looking forward to the day when she is ready to be adopted into a loving home. Until then, he will continue to enjoy Susanna’s wonderful spirit that lights up every room she enters.
“She really is a testament to her race.” Kardon said. ,,She’s strong, determined and brave but also very sweet and loving. She definitely has the heart of a rottweiler.”