PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Friends Karen Quigley from Gloucester County and Michelle Weirich from Delaware County, head up the team behind saving a dog who they named Teresa. They heard about her in a Thailand shelter, in desperate need of a home back in December.
Volunteers at the Thailand shelter felt Teresa had a slim chance of being adopted because of her deformed face. She was nearly beheaded in Thailand where in remote areas dogs are sometimes killed for meat.
Michelle was traveling there when she learned about the young dog’s plight.
“You can’t change the world by saving one dog but you can change that dog’s world,” she said.
Karen couldn’t have agreed more.
“I said to Michelle immediately that day you know, just tell them I’ll take her, let’s just do this,” Karen recalled. “When you look in her eyes there’s such a soulfulness and gentleness.”
A GoFundMe Page was started, raising enough money to arrange for Teresa to make the 20-hour flight from Thailand to the United States. The dog arrived earlier this month at JFK airport.
Medical care will come from Dr. John Lewis, an oral surgeon at NorthStar Veterinary Hospital in Robbinsville, New Jersey. “It’s impressive that she actually survived the trauma,” he said.
Teresa stood shyly at her first appointment, allowing Dr. Lewis to gently evaluate her fractured teeth and damage to her tongue and parts of her lower jaw. Despite her injuries, she’s still able to eat. In fact, she’s grown to love provolone cheese.
“Cosmetics is not going to be what we’re basing our future treatment on. Its going to be making sure she’s free of pain and any infection and making sure she’s functional, she can eat on her own. She can drink on her own. She can play with toys.”
Soon, Teresa will be in the operating room at NorthStar where she’ll have surgery. It’s already been a long journey, but Dr. Lewis says after the procedure, she’ll be that much closer to living a normal life.
It says so much that Teresa can be so trusting of humans so soon. “They don’t hold a grudge. They don’t meditate on things that have happened in the past. They move forward and I think that’s a good lesson for all of us,” Dr. Lewis explained.
It’s a lesson of forgiveness and perhaps, much like the expression, beauty is all in the eye of the beholder.
“I see beauty where other people might see sort of a horrific face,” Karen said.