Dog rescued from canal finds health, happy home

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by Meg Farris / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 13 at 9:59 PM

It was a story that captured the hearts of local animal lovers, a dog, starving and living in one of the city's outfall canals, until several strangers worked for hours to rescue her.

Now she's found a home.

It was a few weeks ago when people from Metairie and Orleans parish spent five hours going up and down the 17th Street Canal trying to rescue a young pit bull who was trapped down below.

They called 911 pleading for help, but none came.
 
They threw her food and Michelle Ingram even cut herself scaling the walls trying to go into canal to save her. Toward the end of the ordeal, DeDe, short for ditch dog, was trapped in the garbage at the pumping station, going under several times and nearly drowning. The team of good Samaritans were finally able to coax her over to the boat launch where she swam into Ingram's arms cold and shaking. The veterinarian determined DeDe had heart worms, intestinal worms, was skin and bones thin, full of insect bites and had markings on her neck from being tied up. That story we told in late July caught the eye and pulled on the heart strings of a Metairie man.
 
"Her eyes, those sad eyes that she had and the fact that she had been in the canal and almost drowned and eaten up by the bugs, it just touched me it really did" said Scott Hoppymeyer.
 
DeDe moved in with Michelle's many other foster dogs at her pet boarding business uptown, but when the story ran she got a call from Hoppymeyer.
 
"So he called me a couple of days later and said I've been thinking about it and I need her in my life. So I said 'Well come on down and let's do a trial visit and make sure she's a good fit for your house,'" said Michelle Ingram who owns Zeus' Place. 
 
"She said, 'It's okay if you bring her back if it doesn't work out.' And I said, 'No, that won't be okay.' And I knew then that she wasn't coming back," said Hoppymeyer.
 
It was love at first sight. So the first order of business was to change her name from DeDe to something more appropriate.
 
"When I saw the story and I got her home, I just said how amazing she is that they go through what they go through, and they still love you, and they're still willing to offer the love to us.  And I just thought that was amazing," said Hoppymeyer.
 
So her new name became "Amazing Grace," "Gracie" for short. Her first night was rough. Hoppymeyer says it seems like she was scared to be inside a home and allowed on a bed. He thinks she was never taught to play as a puppy. But in the week he's had her, they have bonded like she did with Ingram.
 
"Me and my staff really worked on just spending as much hands-on time with her, sitting in the kennel with her, picking her up, touching her paws, letting her know that humans are good and it took about two or three days and then she was back to kissing and loving and trusting humans again," said Ingram.
 
DeDe, who is now Gracie, is just one of the many dozens and dozens of animals that Ingram has rescued over the many years that she's been doing this. In fact, at one time, she had 25 that needed homes. Right now she's got nine dogs and 12 cats, including a little puppy that needs a home.
 
A golden retriever and a big black and white dog who is highly trained and even knows how to play dead are among those that need homes. But for now, they are all just glad that for at least one, there is a happy ending.
 
After our first story ran, several people called Ingram saying the dog from the canal was theirs, but none of the callers could show a single picture of Gracie or veterinary records to prove she was theirs.
 

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