Good Samaritan-Rescued, Chemically Burned Dog Treated at LSU Vet Med and Adopted by Student

09/23/2021Rhiannon Hodges with her dog Juno

Jasmine Walker was driving southbound on River Road on a hot August day when she noticed the cars ahead of her swerving. In the middle of the road, she saw a dog and stopped to help.

“I have never seen an animal in such bad shape. Her ear looked burned away, and there was puss oozing from her body. I could see she was in pain. I opened my passenger’s side door. She tried to climb in but needed my help,” said Walker, an LSU senior majoring in elementary education.

Walker noticed a kennel nearby on the side of the road and saw that it contained old dog food inside.

“The dog, just a puppy, a pit bull terrier, was so afraid. Yet, she trusted me. She curled up next to my feet while I was driving to get her help,” Walker said.

Initially unsure what to do with the severely injured dog, Walker started to drive home when she remembered she could call the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. She brought the dog to the school for emergency treatment.

“Two ladies ran out to meet me at my car and took the dog inside,” Walker said.

Rhiannon Hodges, a fourth-year veterinary student, was on the Small Animal Emergency Services rotation when the Good Samaritan called. Hodges was one of the people who rushed outside to meet Walker.

“The dog was on the floorboards wagging her tail. She licked me on my face, and my heart was smitten,” Hodges said. 

With chemical burns covering 70 percent of her body, the clinical team, including Emergency Services, Dermatology, and Surgery, collaborated to help her heal with daily hydrotherapy, topical creams, pain medication, and antibiotics. 

“It appears someone intentionally tortured her. Any chance I got, I would go to her in the ICU unit and help the excellent nurses care for her,” Hodges said.

Because the dog was homeless, the Companion Animal Alliance assumed ownership of her. 

“She let me know she was willing to fight. She was so full of life,” Hodges said.

Hodges chose to foster the dog through CAA and named her Juno, after the Roman goddess. Recently, Hodges decided to adopt Juno and provide her a permanent home. 

“My favorite part of the day is walking into the vet school and seeing her greet her fan club,” said Hodges, who dresses Juno in onesies to protect her skin from the sun and infection.

“It means a lot to me that Juno is shown nothing but love here at the vet school—especially since she wasn’t shown love before,” Hodges said.

With only 10 percent of wounds left to heal, Juno’s prognosis is good. Her skin is expected to fully heal, though it is unclear whether her fur will grow back.

“It’s heartwarming to know we have an entire team behind us. Juno didn’t have that before. Now, she will for the rest of her life. She’s a Tiger now. Her stripes just look a little different than other tigers’,” Hodges said.  

 The Good Samaritan who stopped to help Juno is thrilled to know that she is healing and has a home of her own.

“It is so good to know that we have a place to bring an injured or sick animal. I couldn’t help her, but the vet school could help her,” Walker said.

Each year, more than 300 cases of animals in need of emergency treatment are brought to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. These animals do not have owners but are brought to our 24-hour emergency facility by Good Samaritans, like Walker, who care deeply for animals in need. The school provides emergency services, critical care, testing, and ICU to these animals. 

The cost of treating and caring for these ownerless animals approaches $70,000 per year, a cost absorbed by the school in a commitment to heal animals as part of its mission. 

If you would like to contribute to the Good Samaritan Fund at LSU Vet Med, please go to lsufoundation.org/givetovetmed and choose the Good Samaritan Fund.

Writer

Sandra Sarr, MFA

Communications Coordinator

sarr1@lsu.edu