There was a good amount of righteous outrage in the metro this May when the story broke about Phoenix, a 1-year-old black lab who'd been set on fire then denied medical attention. Phoenix's owner, Maria Alarcon-Suarez, waited a full day before getting the dog to a vet, and when she did finally take him, she claimed that he was a stray she'd just found wandering the streets. Alarcon-Suarez is now facing animal-cruelty charges, and whoever actually lit the poor animal has yet to be identified.
It would be understandable if Phoenix never trusted people again. But this Saturday at City Pets & Ponds, Phoenix appeared not only to be healing well but also to be a happy, playful dog.
Phoenix's sweet temperament only made the cruelty against him all the more disturbing. Watching him slobber over people at the pet store this weekend and flop onto his side for a belly rub, it seemed unlikely that he could have ever inspired the fear of a more aggressive dog.
Love4Paws founder Stephanie Henshaw estimated that at least 30 people came to see Phoenix at the pet store appearance, and many made donations to help pay his medical bills. Phoenix is turning into a handsome pooch, aside from the initial oddness of seeing that his ears have been
amputated. Potential adopters are already lining up.
"We've had a few offers, but we haven't settled on anyone yet," Henshaw told The Pitch. "I have to go out to their homes and inspect them, and make sure it's a good environment for Phoenix. But it's been great to see so many people come forward who want to help."
Phoenix will appear at several more stores in the next week. You can find details at the Love4Paws website, where you can also find a list of other great dogs who still need homes.