Susie’s Hope animal cruelty survivor nominated for 2013 Hero Dog Award

June 5, 2013

For those of you who haven’t heard of Susie Lawrence, a new film based on the life of this remarkable animal cruelty survivor is now bringing audiences to tears. Susie has also been nominated for a 2013 Hero Dog Award in the Emerging Hero Dogs category.

This is her story.

Susie was found in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. This little pit bull mix puppy was only eight weeks old and the victim of severe animal cruelty. Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn infant. For that, she was beaten and set on fire.

Susie suffered a broken jaw and second and third-degree burns to 60 percent of her body. She survived those ten days between her attack and her rescue by eating sticks and food from garbage cans. She drank water from tiny puddles.

Susie was found ten days after her owner tried to kill her. Her teeth had been knocked out and her ears burned down to nubs. Still, those responsible for her rescue were determined to save the sweet little puppy. At the time of her rescue, Susie had open wounds infested with maggots. The Guilford County Animal Shelter veterinarian said the maggots saved her life by eating away the infection in her wounds.

Susie received help at the shelter for two months, suffering through daily treatments for her burns. Everyone who met her fell in love with this brave little dog. Thanks to a lot of love, and those dedicated to her recovery, Susie grew strong and started behaving like a normal playful puppy.

When she was about a year old, Susie was adopted by Donna and Roy Lawrence. Donna had been the victim of a vicious dog attack ten months before deciding to adopt Susie. Not only did Donna help Susie heal, Susie returned the favor. Donna had been afraid of dogs after the attack, but Susie won her heart.

After adopting Susie, Donna made the statement “Our similar experiences allowed us to go from being victims to living victorious lives. I forgave the dog for my wrongful attack, and Susie forgave the human for hers.”

Donna and Susie also led the way in creating Susie’s Law. On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Susie’s Law HB1690 passed before the N.C. House. Then on June 23, North Carolina’s Governor Beverly Perdue signed Susie’s Law, which reclassifies animal cruelty from a Class I to a Class H Felony, giving judges the ability to send convicted abusers to jail for up to 10 months. The law took effect on December 1, 2010.

These days Susie goes to work with Donna at her hair salon. She has a canine sister named Baby Girl, who is her BFF.

Susie has also been trained as a therapy dog and has become a Canine Good Citizen. She’s trained to work with burn victims, where she can give back some of the love shown to her after her rescue. Donna and Susie also travel wherever they’re needed to spread the word about animal cruelty.

To vote for Susie as 2013 Hero Dog Award, please go here. It’s a shame there isn’t a Dog Mom Hero Award category, because Donna certainly deserves that honor for the changes in animal cruelty laws she helped bring about for N.C.

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