A puppy left for dead in southern Lancaster County is clinging to life in a York County veterinarian’s office.

“I am still shocked. I’m in disbelief that he’s still alive,” Jennifer Nields, a former Lancaster County humane officer, said Wednesday. “We were told (by a veterinarian) that he was hours from death.”

Nields said she was contacted by someone, who prefers to remain anonymous, who saw the dying, 7-week-old puppy on a farm where he had business. He asked the dog’s owner to surrender the puppy so he could get medical care, Nields said, and when the owner agreed, the anonymous rescuer contacted her but would not divulge the dog owner’s name.

“There were two other dogs on the property, but they seemed healthy and fine,” she said. “But the puppy was alone in an enclosure, like a pen. He was just lying there.”

Nields contacted Janine Guido, who runs the Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg, and they met Monday evening at the Pet Emergency Treatment and Specialties clinic on North Queen Street.

Guido posted to Facebook on Monday that she was typing “through my tears” as she drove the puppy — emaciated, dehydrated and barely breathing — to an emergency clinic closer to home.

His skin was rotting and infected, she said, and a veterinarian told Guido the puppy’s chances of survival were slim.

Guido said she told the vet to “do whatever you need to do” to keep the pup alive. She named him Libre — Spanish for “liberty,” since he was rescued on Independence Day — and on Tuesday morning transferred the pup to Dillsburg Veterinary Center for ongoing care.

Libre has demodectic mange and “severe secondary skin infections,” Guido said. Blood and pus are oozing from his skin, she said, and maggots have infested his open wounds.

He remains in critical condition.

“He’s hanging in there,” Guido said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re trying to take it day by day. He is eating, which is good. His white blood-cell count has gone down, which is great.”

Guido said she’s not sure of Libre’s breed.

“He doesn’t even look like a dog right now. He looks like a scabby little alien,” she said. “From what we can guess, he might be a Boston terrier or a boxer.”

He weighs about 5 pounds, she said — 10 to 15 pounds below the ideal weight for his age.

He needs round-the-clock care, Guido said, so Dillsburg veterinarian Dr. Ivan Pryor and his wife, Sharon, take Libre home with them at night.

They’re pumping him full of fluids and antibiotics, she said. Libre is wrapped in blankets and on a heating pad, she added, “because he doesn’t have the body fat and hair to regulate his own body temperature.”

“He sleeps about 90 percent of the time,” she said. “He can’t stand on his own. He can barely lift his head. He can eat, but we have to water it down. He can’t even wag his tail. It’s so sad.”

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Libre eats soft food at Dillsburg Veterinary Center.


No animal-cruelty charges are pending against the puppy’s former owner, Nields said, because the owner has not been identified.

But she’s happy Libre has a shot.

“Most people would have looked at the puppy and said no way, this puppy needs to be put down,” Nields says. “Janine looked at this puppy and said we need to give it a chance.

“If he pulls through, that’s a miracle all on its own.”

Donations toward Libre’s medical care can be made by calling 432-7031 or visiting speranzarescue.org/donate online.

Numerous people have offered to adopt Libre, Guido said, but “to be honest, I’m not thinking that far ahead. We’re just trying to get him through the day.”

“At 7 weeks old he has only ever experienced horror, and neglect,” she wrote Monday on Facebook. “And the only thing I want is for him to know that life can be good.”

Libre is shown recovering at Dillsburg Veterinary Center.