URBANA — The eight-month-old puppy that was rescued from Kaufman Lake on Saturday walked into a circle of cameras and wagged her tail excitedly.
The dog that the doctors at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine are calling Poppy was unfazed by all the attention. While wounds were clearly visible up and down her sides, she doesn’t appear to be suffering any mental effects of the abuse, Dr. Meghan Fick said.
“She’s excited, she’s happy, she’s eating, she wags her tail, licks faces, takes treats,” Fick said. “She feels fine, it’s just going to be all of her skin problems. ... Puppies are so resilient that she doesn’t know that people did this to her, and she just wants to be around people.
“She wants to sit on your lap, lick your hands and take treats. She’s ready to move on and doesn’t harbor any bad feelings.”
Officials say a dog found in Champaign’s Kaufman Lake over the weekend is well enough to go to Champaign County Animal Control.
Poppy was rescued Saturday afternoon by Next Generation School science teacher Bryant Fritz, who found her in a cage halfway submerged in the water.
Fritz said he dropped his fishing poles, took off a few layers of sweatshirts, and waded in to drag her out.
When she arrived at the UI’s Small Animal Clinic, her temperature was so low it didn’t register on the thermometer, and she was barely moving.
Doctors quickly moved to warm her up and treat her wounds.
“I worry that with how cold she was and how cold the water was that if she had been left out there for much longer, we might not be as fortunate as we are now,” Fick said. “I think warming her up and getting some food in her belly helped bring out the puppy in her.”
A GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $5,000 has been set up to help Fritz with the dog’s medical expenses and care. Poppy was set to be released to animal control Monday.
The dog will stay with animal control while Champaign police investigate who left her in a cage in the lake. Fick hopes she isn’t there for long.
“For her sake, she deserves to be in a home as soon as possible,” she said.
Fritz hopes that home is his. After taking Poppy to the UI, he wrote on the GoFundMe page, he filled out paperwork to let it be known that “I wanted to give her a loving home.”