When Indy was first brought to the Highland County Humane Society, she was in rough shape — much of her fur was missing due to untreated allergies, and she was afraid of people to the point of violence.
But with a little bit of love and some medication, the German shepherd was brought back to health and now has a happy home.
Shelter manager Amy Rhoden said Indy was an owner surrender.
“An elderly couple brought her in,” Rhoden said. “They had gotten her about six months before… They said they just didn’t know what to do with her.”
According to Rhoden, the dog was almost completely bald, had open sores on her skin and painfully swollen foot pads.
“The sores almost looked like chemical burns,” Rhoden said, “but it turned out to be untreated allergies… She was vicious because she was in so much pain. She was just afraid.”
Rhoden said Indy bit her hand during one of their first encounters, but that didn’t stop her from trying to gain Indy’s trust.
Rhoden started as shelter manager in January of this year after working for a pet clinic in Mt. Orab for 15 years, and said she’s worked with similar animals for most of her life.
“I worked at the vet for so many years and worked on a farm, so when dogs come in and they’re mentally broken, or spiritually broken, however you want to say it… sometimes, you just have to work with them,” she said. “I had to teach her, and it was a slow process… Everybody was a little bit leery of her. But I knew if I could get her to trust me, I could get her to trust other people again.”
Rhoden said the shelter staff began treating Indy’s skin with topical medication and oral antibiotics in hopes she would grow some fur back.
“We weren’t sure if she would get her fur back, but she did,” Rhoden said. “I don’t know what all she went through, but at that point you just have to do what’s right for the dog. Over time, she got a lot better.”
Rhoden said seeing dogs recover from physical and mental trauma makes the extra work worth it.
“We get cases like that,” Rhoden said. “We’ve got a little three-legged dog in here whose owner just died. You couldn’t touch that dog when he came in. I work a little harder with those cases. Now, it’s all over, and he just plays with toys, rolls around on his back, lets me rub his belly and gets on my lap.”
There’s good new for Indy, too, Rhoden said. Indy – now renamed Ariel – was adopted in May by Megan Burns, a former humane officer who had just lost a dog to cancer, and the canine now has a comfortable home.
“She got her freedom ride,” Rhoden said, “and now she’s happy.”
The Highland County Humane Society is located at 9331 State Route 124 outside of Hillsboro. It can be reached by calling 937-393-2110.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.