Outdoor roaming dog with medical challenges gets helping hand

Uma lived with a family that gave her little more than food. No love, no health care. She roamed the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, with a large German shepherd, eating scraps and avoiding trouble. So it wasn't surprising that when the family that was feeding her moved, they left her behind.

Dog suffering with mange and infected eyes

Knowing that she was alone, Uma befriended a woman in the neighborhood, Anna Tsantir. At the time, Uma had terrible mange and infected eyes, and smelled so bad that Anna was afraid to take her in, fearing she would expose her own animals to possible infectious diseases.

Furry Friends in Memphis, Tennessee

But, knowing Uma needed help, Anna brought the pathetic-looking dog to Julie Ray, one of the founders of Furry Friends, also in Memphis.

"I almost gagged at the stench!" said Julie. "The first thing I did was take her to the basement to wash her up. It helped, but she was still very stinky."

Canine upper respiratory infection and heartworms

Despite this, Julie recognized Uma for the sweetheart she is and couldn't help but love her. When Julie took Uma to the vet, it was confirmed that she was a mess. She was treated for mange and an upper respiratory infection and tested positive for heartworms. With time, the mange cleared up, her eyes became bright and sparkly, and, with the help of Furry Friends, she was successfully treated for her heartworms.

Dog torn cruciate ligament

Uma seemed to be on the path toward adoption when it was discovered she has a torn cruciate ligament, which could make her leg useless if she doesn't have surgery. Once again, Julie turned to Furry Friends for support.

Fundraiser to help dog with medical problems

The nonprofit rescue organization rose to the challenge by holding a fundraiser. Over 200 people braved the heat last Saturday to enjoy a cookout, yard sale, petting zoo and, of course, pet adoptions - all to give Uma another chance at a new and healthy life.

"The event raised over $4,000!" reported Susan Mah, co-founder of Furry Friends. "It was a great success and gave us more than enough money to pay for Uma's operation, which will be scheduled for this coming week."

This sweet mutt has had a long, hard journey, but along the way Uma has gained a network of friends and supporters. With a little time and continued love, she'll be on her way to a new home in no time.

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Photo by Gary Kalpakoff