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Braveheart wins the hearts of many, makes remarkable recovery

June 24, 2011 By Lori Strelow

Back in March, when the doctors and technicians at UW Veterinary Care first met Braveheart, he was an unknown, previously unloved and basically forgotten dog.

Shown with Braveheart, from left, are Marti Houge, One Starfish Rehoming Connections, the rescue group that saved Braveheart, Lisa Mills, one of his new adopting owners, and Dr. Daniel Foy, who was Braveheart’s primary veterinarian.

Photo: courtesy UW–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

He was found in a dumpster in Kentucky, where he was left to die. Braveheart was severely malnourished, full of worms and infested with parasites. His hair was spotty at best and open sores covered much of his skin.

Fast forward to today and Braveheart is a well-known and loved dog.

During his stay at UW Veterinary Care, one of his fans created a Facebook page and he acquired more than 11,000 friends. Both television and newspaper media covered his story that reached out to a caring audience. More than 500 people sent cards, gifts and donations to help Braveheart’s struggle to survive.

But the best part of this story is Braveheart’s miraculous recovery.

“I am amazed each time I see him,” says Marti Houge, of One Starfish Rehoming Connections, the Columbus, Wis.-based rescue organization that saved Braveheart. “He could walk into the vet school today and no one would recognize him. He looks like a totally different dog. He has a proud way of holding himself. When we first met him, he looked really small, because he held himself so tight and was cowering. He doubled his weight and doubled his beauty.”

Braveheart’s remarkable recovery will be on display on UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis on Wednesday, Aug. 10. In addition, plans call for him to lead the daily parade around the fairgrounds that day.

Houge and one of his adoptive parents, Lisa Mills, presented Dr. Daniel Foy of UW Veterinary Care a plaque of Braveheart photos as a special gift for his commitment to helping Braveheart .

“His recovery really has been quite remarkable,” says Foy. “Although we hoped he would get back to looking like a normal dog, we never thought it would happen this quickly.