Susie to Appear at Animal Event Sunday in Pinehurst
Susie will return to Moore County Sunday.
North Carolina's top lobbyist for animal abuse prevention will appear for an Unchaining Moore Dogs rally in Pinehurst.
"She's doing wonderful," says her human owner, Donna Lawrence. "Susie is a great dog. I couldn't ask for a better dog. She's very smart."
Lawrence adopted Susie after the puppy was tortured by her owner in Greensboro almost two years ago. The recovery of the pit bull mix and subsequent attention to her dilemma prompted sympathy from state legislators, who last year enacted Susie's Law.
The law makes animal abuse a felony offense in North Carolina and authorizes judges to sentence violators to jail time.
Susie and Lawrence will join the Unchaining Moore Dogs gathering at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Kelly Road in Pinehurst from 2 until 5 p.m. Sunday.
The event supports a program that builds fencing for dogs that are tethered in their owners' yards, according to Maureen Burke-Horansky, founder of Animal Advocates of Moore County. The idea is to free dogs from tethering, which is regarded as cruel and can also be dangerous to dogs.
Susie still bears physical scars from cruel treatment by her former owner, but Lawrence says the dog is fine otherwise and the emotional scars have healed.
In fact, Susie helped Lawrence overcome her own fear of dogs, a condition generated by an attack by a dog she was actually trying to help.
Lawrence was hospitalized with serious wounds to her legs after a neighbor's pit bull attacked her while she was trying to provide the tethered animal with food and water.
Although she had been helping the dog while its owner was at work for a number of months, the pit bull, who was tied to a wire run, suddenly attacked, knocking her to the ground. She was able to roll away from the dog, a movement that may have saved her life or prevented disabling injuries.
"She helped me overcome my fear of dogs," Lawrence says of Susie. "We make a pretty good team."
Lawrence and Susie spend most of their time these days on public appearances and education efforts. They attend animal abuse prevention rallies and visit schools to educate children about the treatment of pets.
Susie is so comfortable with children and adults that Lawrence hopes to have her certified as a therapy dog in the near future. She says Susie would be ideal as a four-footed therapist for the ill and the elderly.
When she was about eight weeks old, Susie was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire by her owner. The man tossed her into the weeds in a Greensboro park, where she was found several days later. Her rescuers marveled that Susie survived at all. Her back and ears were burned, and scarring remains.
But her will to survive and her personality turned Susie into something of a celebrity, making her the inspiration of the law strengthening the state's animal abuse law.
"She has recovered very well," Lawrence says.
When it's raining, her ears must be covered because their natural protection was lost by the burns. Lawrence applies sunscreen to her back for walks in bright sunshine.
"Other than that, she's pretty normal," Lawrence says. "You would never know that she had been tortured."
Lawrence, who owns a salon, has another dog, Baby Girl, who is Susie's "best friend," and some cats at her home in Greensboro.
Her first book, "Susie's Miracle," will be published next week and will be followed by a second volume on the law and Susie's life and times. Both books are geared toward children of different ages.
The Sunday event in Pinehurst is sponsored to raise funds for the unchaining movement as well as to promote animal abuse prevention. The day will also feature such activities as a silent auction, pet photos and dog washing.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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