Jennefer Lueck took her work home with her a couple months ago and hasn’t regretted it for a second.
Lueck, a veterinarian technician at Veterinary Emergency Service in Janesville, was one of the first to care for Sunny, the dog who survived severe burns from scalding water late last year.
Exactly one month after Beloit police responded to the call for Sunny’s mistreatment, the year-old Labrador-mix is healing quicker than veterinary staff anticipated.
Lueck was on duty the night Sunny was taken to the hospital, she said. Despite showing signs of pain and discomfort, Sunny rolled over wanting belly rubs.
“I knew right away she was going to come with me,” Lueck said. She is now Sunny’s foster mother.
Sunny suffered burns on her head, ears, back, shoulders and chest. About 20 percent of her surface skin was damaged or removed, The Gazette reported earlier.
The dog has undergone multiple surgeries since she has been under the care of the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, said Penny Coder, shelter veterinarian. Sunny takes antibiotics, two pain medications and anti-anxiety medication daily.
“Our veterinarian staff and foster mom have done a great job at getting Sunny way ahead of schedule,” said Brett Frazier, executive director of the humane society. “It’s really impressive to see what our people can do.”
Sunny was nervous at first, but she has gotten comfortable around people and loves playing with other dogs, Lueck said. Caring for her is like caring for any other dog.
While laying on the floor of the humane society, Sunny was calm and curious.
Her demeanor was that of any other young dog. She was not fazed by the media’s cameras or Lueck’s 8-year-old daughter Peighton, who wore a kitty-cat jumper and tiara and gently petted Sunny over a gray protective vest.
The only thing to rile Sunny up was a red toy filled with peanut butter—Sunny loves peanut butter.
“Dogs always surprise me with how much they continue to love after what they’ve been through,” Coder said. “We could tell when she came in she was a good dog.”
Lueck’s husband Austin rounds out Sunny’s foster family.
The family has fostered kittens for four to five years, Lueck said. They have another dog at home, but Sunny is their first foster dog.
Sunny will remain under foster care until she is healthy enough to be adopted, Lueck said.
It’s difficult to determine how long that will take, Coder said. She hopes Sunny will be ready to go next month.
Regardless of treatment, Sunny will never be completely “normal,” Coder said. Her ears will always be scarred, and much of her fur will not grow back.
Still, many people—seemingly hundreds, Frazier said—have contacted the humane society about adopting Sunny.
When asked if Lueck would adopt Sunny, she paused and grinned.
“If Sunny chooses she wants to stay in our home, we will have a home for her.”