SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The stray dog was hit by a car, clubbed in the head and left for dead in a ditch in Washington state. Days later, the 1-year-old bully breed mix showed up sickly and covered in dirt at a nearby farm.
Now, the dog that defied death is recovering with the help of good Samaritans and veterinarians at Washington State University.
The dog used to roam the streets getting scraps of food from people in Moses Lake, a farm town about 100 miles west of Spokane.
About a month ago, she was struck by a car. Then things got worse: Someone cracked her in the head with a hammer and placed her in a box in a farm field.
But the dog somehow survived and was discovered at a nearby farm with a dislocated jaw, leg injuries and a caved-in sinus cavity.
The wounds helped veterinarians piece together what happened, including the hammer blow.
"I'm assuming that the person who did this meant to put her out of her misery," said Sara Mellado, who learned about the dog's plight on Facebook and took the animal into her Moses Lake home.
She named the dog Theia.
"Considering everything that she's been through, she's incredibly gentle and loving," Mellado told The Associated Press. "She's a true miracle dog, and she deserves a good life."
Theia is receiving care at WSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman.
A CT scan of her skull revealed a condition that constricts the nasal passages, restricting air flow into the lungs, said veterinary resident Andrea Sundholm, who's assisting with Theia's treatment. It was caused by multiple nasal bone fractures.
When Theia tries to draw air in through her nose, she's forced to open her mouth to breathe instead. But with a dislocated jaw, that is challenging as well.
Theia's jaw is healing on its own, but the nasal-bone fractures have caused lasting problems, Sundholm said. Fixing that will require surgery to insert a stent, she said.
The veterinary hospital's Good Samaritan Fund awarded $700 to help pay for Theia's early treatment.
Mellado has raised another $10,000 for the surgery through a crowdfunding website, and is planning to call WSU to schedule the procedure.
The university said despite her injuries, Theia is friendly and likes to kiss people's cheeks.
Mellado said she has been deluged with calls from people seeking to help. Theia is staying with Mellado's family until they find her a permanent home.
"She's a puppy," Mellado said. "She's outgoing, lovable, up for meeting new people."