FORT COLLINS - A partially paralyzed 16-week-old homeless dog, or "pothound," from Grenada hopped on a plane to Colorado and took her first steps to a better life Thursday.
Sammy is the first of several homeless dogs to come to Fort Collins' All Aboard Animal Rescue for medical treatment and a new home. The Pothound Project, started by veterinary student Eryn Del Monte, hopes to adopt out a growing population of stray dogs from the island country just off the coast of Venezuela.
Del Monte, 25, attends veterinary school at St. George's University in Grenada seven months out of the year and spends the remainder of her time in Fort Collins helping All Aboard. The university has multiple student-based projects to help stray dogs, but The Pothound Project is one of the first to take animals out of the country.
"The most important thing to us is giving the dogs a better future," she said. "Whether in Grenada or Colorado, the point of all of this is to find them a forever home."
All Aboard Animal Rescue will help facilitate the treatment and transfer of the dogs, many of which suffer from mange and other diseases due to life on the streets. Some, like Sammy, are disabled. All dogs accepted into the Fort Collins program must pass vigorous health evaluations and be treated in Grenada for infectious diseases before coming here.
Sharon Sage, president of the Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter, offers a low-cost clinic to provide some treatment to animals. But with a huge need and little money to help the animals, dogs like Sammy are "often secondary" in the poor country.
She was the first to treat and foster Sammy, who was brought into the shelter off Grenada's streets about two months ago with paralyzed back legs and incontinence. The puppy's vibrant spirit convinced the veterinarian to give her a second chance at life and finding a forever home. It's unclear how Sammy became paralyzed, other than some form of trauma.
Del Monte said many pothounds are hit by cars and buses while running around the island. Dog versus car collisions are one of the most common emergencies seen at the St. George University Small Animal Clinic, she added.
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