NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A few months after being found muzzled with electrical tape in North Charleston, Caitlyn is doing well in her new foster home, the Charleston Animal society says. The Staffie mix received surgery to heal severe wounds to her muzzle in June.
On Sunday, September 6, the Charleston Animal Society posted a picture of Caitlyn ending her summer with a run on the beach. The organization says she ran with her foster sister, Oreo.
"Caitlyn, "America's Dog" ran her heart out on Sullivans Island, chasing her ball and chasing Oreo," the post read. "She had the best time but she is still a little unsure of the waves!"
"She's actually becoming quite the runner," read a post by the Charleston Animal Society on Sunday, August 16. According to the post, Caitlyn has been getting some exercise. She recently ran three miles before getting distracted by fiddler crabs and geese, the post read.
"Caitlyn is very happy with her new boy," read a post on the organization's Facebook page in July. It came with a photo of the dog laying next to a sleeping child. "He lets her share his bed!"
"What an amazing survival story she is for abused animals and she is giving hope and strength to humans in abusive situations," The Charleston Animal Society goes on to say.
Dr. Henri Bianucci performed surgery on the dog last month. He called her recovery "really amazing."
CAS officials say Bianucci repaired Caitlyn's cheek and lips; originally the surgery called for work on Caitlyn's tongue, but doctors said it was not needed since the tongue was in better shape than they thought.
"Her tongue had sloughed a small area of dead tissue," Bianucci said in a statement. "The shape was roughly that of a maple leaf. It was really amazing. The combination of [hyperbaric oxygen therapy] and cold laser therapy reduced the tissue loss from the tongue to an absolute minimum."
Doctors initially estimated loss of up to a third of her tongue, but ultimately less than one-eighth, he said.
The surgery to Caitlyn's torn lips helps her keep food in her mouth and help her further heal. Doctors expect Caitlyn to make a full recovery.
Caitlyn appeared at the doorstep of a North Charleston home in May with electrical tape wrapped tightly around her muzzle.
She was rushed to the Charleston Animal Society, and then underwent surgery at Veterinary Emergency Care.
A medical report from Veterinary Emergency Care described the dog's muzzle as "markedly swollen with evidence of tape around its muzzle," and its tongue as "significantly swollen, significantly bruised, discolored (dark purple) and oozing blood," court documents state.
CAS Senior Director of Veterinary Care, Dr. Lucy Fuller, initially said a large portion of her tongue might have to be removed because it had become trapped between her teeth and lost blood flow. "She may be severely disfigured, or the large amount of dead tissue may cause life-threatening complications," Fuller said.
William Leonard Dodson was arrested in the abuse case and and charged with animal cruelty. Court documents state Dodson purchased the dog on Memorial Day for $20. He told investigators he taped her muzzle shut because she would not stop barking.
Dodson is in jail awaiting trial, the Charleston Animal Society says.