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STORM: Desperately seeking Susie, for a happy ending to a sad tale

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Susie the dog is a Great Pyrenees with long white hair who weighs about 75 pounds.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

As a dog lover, I know this sad truth: for every pampered pooch living in a loving home, there are dozens more who live mostly in misery — hungry, alone, abandoned or abused.

Such canines occasionally get lucky — finding a human whose heart is touched by their plight. This is the story of Susie, whose life started badly, got better and who now needs the help of the community to give her the future she deserves.

When Freddy Gray met Susie, she had been tied to a tree for eight years. The Great Pyrenees dog was living on a farm in Greene County, although in Susie’s case, the word “living” might be a slight exaggeration. “Surviving” would probably be a more accurate description. 

“She was tied to a tree with a nylon rope,” said Gray, a former volunteer animal cruelty investigator for Pitt County. “She had been there so long that there was no grass in the place she was living — just dirt.”

Susie was confined near a pen that housed another dog, Gray said, and she had pushed her face against the pen so often she scraped the hair off the top of her nose.

She also had been a baby-making machine, giving birth to litter after litter of puppies.

“A lot of the puppies died there in the dirt,” Gray said. “I spoke to her owner and told him, ‘I’m going to take Susie and get her spayed.’”

Susie had never been to see a veterinarian — never even been in a car, Gray said. After getting Susie spayed he returned her to the farm, but he couldn’t stand to leave her there for long. 

He talked Susie’s owner into letting him rescue her, loaded her in his car once more, and brought her to Greenville.

There, Susie’s life began to change for the better. 

Gray lives in a townhouse unsuitable for an 85-pound dog. So while he searched for a bigger place with some acreage for Susie to roam, he arranged for her to be housed with his friend — devoted animal lover Bobbie Parsons.

“Susie was severely heartworm positive, so she had to be treated for that,” Gray said. Before that treatment even began, Susie had to undergo treatment for several other maladies. She was confined to a pen in Parsons’ yard for her recovery period. When she was feeling better, Susie was free to roam in the fenced yard. 

Unfortunately, freedom came at the wrong time.

Susie was liberated five days before the Fourth of July — when Parsons’ neighbors hosted a fireworks display.

“She was a country dog,” Gray said. “I don’t think she’d ever heard such noise. She hopped the fence and ran away.”

Gray has spent days searching for his lost friend. He has posted fliers, sent out an appeal on Facebook and even stopped people on the street. He told me last week that he has hardly slept since Susie disappeared.

“She is the sweetest, most gentle dog,” Gray said. Susie’s past life has made her somewhat fearful — she had only just reached the point where she would take a treat out of his hand.

The solid white, long-haired dog wearing a pink collar was last sighted on Greenville Boulevard near 14th Avenue and Elm Street. Gray is desperate for any clues to her whereabouts.

“She has been through so much,” he said. “I just want her back.”

Gray is offering a reward for Susie’s return. He asks that anyone with information on his dog call him at 756-4190 or 364-7366.

I’d like to add my own plea: Please help a sweet dog return to the person who saved her and who wants only the best for her.

If any dog deserves a happy ending, it’s Susie.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com of 252-329-9587.

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