TAMPA, Fla - Hope the dog is finally on her way home. Weeks after being placed in intensive care at a Tampa veterinary clinic, the Arcadia dog who was burned over 60 percent of her body has a new lease on life, and a new home.
"She definitely hit my heart," said Leigh Sockalosky with the Hardee Animal Rescue Team, or HART.
"She's helped a lot of people," Sockalosky said. "When they see her updates about recovering, I've gotten comments back that she's helped others with struggles... Thats why we feel like hope was sent to us."
Hope's story grabbed headlines last month when authorities said her former owner may have intentionally doused the dog in kerosene and lit a match. The 66-year-old man was arrested several weeks later and is now facing charges related to the abuse.
Doctors say Hope suffered mostly second-degree burns. They were severe, but not enough to require skin grafts. Hope lost her ears to more serious third-degree burns.
In time, doctors say the scars will heal. For now, she'll need continued care and daily bandage changes.
Doctors were afraid Hope would lose her sight. But thanks that modern medicine and the natural healing process, Hope's temporary blindness has gone and she can run and play again.
Sockalosky plans to adopt Hope and share her story of survival with children in schools, as a way of encouraging them to persevere against difficult odds. Officials say thanks to generous donors, more than $50,000 was raised to pay for Hope's recent and future medical needs.