By Alyssa Schor
When animal control officers found Trinity, a stray mixed-breed dog, they couldn’t believe she was still alive.
She was taken to the Smyth County Animal Hospital in Smyth County, Va., where the vet evaluated her and gave her body condition the lowest score possible. While on stray hold, Trinity received care and began gaining weight and building more strength. But when her hold time was up in March 2015, she was to return to the shelter to be euthanized.
The vet and his staff told us about how wonderful this girl was. She used every ounce of the little energy she had to wag her tail and give soft kisses when she saw her caretakers. We decided to step in and take over her care. We couldn’t stand the thought of her being put down after all the progress she had made.
“It’s a tough call to take a dog in that poor shape,” said Hilary Kline, Trinity’s foster. “I figured she must be one incredible dog.”
While still in Virginia, the vets noticed that one of Trinity’s hind legs was badly broken and needed amputated. Many of CDR’s donors stepped up to help fund her surgery, and the amputation took place in early April.
“It was a really phenomenal thing to see how many people came together to get this dog well,” Hilary said.
On Mother’s Day, Trinity arrived to CDR and moved into Hilary’s home. She already had another dog she had previously adopted from CDR.
“I was worried that no one else would,” Hilary said about why she decided to foster Trinity. “The pictures of her were just heartbreaking.”
At first, Hilary said she had to be careful about giving Trinity food and supplements, as gaining too much weight too quickly would add stress to the dog’s body. Trinity’s skin, Hilary said, “felt like porcupine quill” – it was thin and rough. A scar from the amputation had begun to heal, but she still had gaping wounds.
After about a week in the home, Hilary said she noticed Trinity beginning to deteriorate and become more lethargic – but the vets said they couldn’t find signs of any other condition.
On Memorial Day, one of the wounds – 1.5 inches deep – opened up. For almost a week, Trinity had to be sedated each day while vets cleaned out the wound, packed it with gauze, gave her strong antibiotics and later placed a suture on top.
Despite all the procedures, Trinity kept a great spirit.
“Even with all of that, she was always a great patient,” Hilary said. “She was never aggressive. I never saw her act out with everything she’s been through.”
One night in May, Laura McCutcheon’s 14-year-old daughter, Brynn, was researching adoptable dogs online. Brynn loves animals and wants to be a vet. She’d been asking the rest of the family for a while to adopt a dog or cat.
“We’re total dog people,” Laura said.
When Brynn saw a picture of Trinity, she knew that dog was the one.
“I was interested in one that might have trouble finding a home,” Brynn said.
Brynn and her dad sat down and filled out the adoption application that night.
“I was very hopeful that we would get to meet her, and we’re lucky we got to,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she’s so happy. It was like love at first sight.”
When the McCutcheons first met Trinity in early June, Brynn said the dog greeted them at the door with a big smile. Trinity was making significant improvements with all the care she’d been receiving. The amputation was already complete, her hair was growing again and she had gained most of her weight back.
“By the time we met her, we couldn’t believe it was the same dog,” Laura said.
The McCutcheons officially welcomed Trinity into their home on June 20, making her the 1,500th dog adopted from City Dogs Rescue.
“It really feels meant to be,” Laura said. “We didn't even know about CDR prior to finding Trinnie through an Internet search. We were amazed at the lengths this amazing organization took to help our sweet girl on her road to recovery. She has such a gentle but fighting spirit, so she deserves to be recognized as the 1,500th adoption!
Trinity joined the other family dog, Charlie, who had already been in the home almost 10 years. Brynn said the two dogs get along well.
The family is still helping Trinity build strength in her back leg. Laura said they still have to carry her up most of the staircase.
“She just has this absolute resilience,” Laura said.
But Trinity is now completely house trained, and she can chew on bones and grasp things with her paw – something Laura said she hasn’t been able to do for a long time.
“It’s incredible how much she adapted,” Laura said.
Both Laura and Brynn agree that because of everything she went through, Trinity is truly grateful to now live in a loving home.
“You can just tell she appreciates being here and having a place to sleep and food to eat,” Brynn said. “She really does appreciate everything in her life because of the experience she had.”
Trinity is great with kids and loves when people come up and talk to her during walks. She loves to lie in bed and cuddle with people.
“She’s just been such a blessing,” Brynn said. “She’s been amazing to have around. It’s been totally life-changing.”
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.