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Meg Farris /Medical Watch

NEWORLEANS-- When we first brought you this story, it was about the heroic efforts of good Samaritans to save an abandoned, trapped dog.

The second time was to tell you about the kindness of a Metairie man who answered the call to give her a home.

But now, this time, both the dog and her owner are in desperate need.

It was a hot summer, July 2010, when people from Metairie and Orleans Parish spent five hours trying to rescue a young pit bull who was abandoned and trapped in the 17th Street Canal.

They called 911 to ask for help. They threw her food, and Michelle Ingram, who regularly rescues animals, even cut herself trying to go into the canal to save her.

The dog got trapped in the garbage at the pumping station, nearly drowning. The team of Good Samaritans were finally able to coax her over to the boat launch where she swam into Michelle's arms, cold and shaking.

The veterinarian determined DeDe, short for 'ditch dog,' had heart worms and intestinal worms. She was skin-and-bones thin, full of insect bites and had abrasions on her neck from being tied up. It took days to show her that humans could be loving.

That story caught the eye and pulled on the heart strings of a Metairie man who was watching TV.

'Her eyes, those sad eyes that she had, and the fact that she had been in the canal and almost drown and eaten up by the bugs, it just touched me. It really did,' said Scott Hoppymeyer back in August 2010.

It was love at first sight. Scott Hoppmeyer changed her name from 'DeDe' to 'Amazing Grace' or 'Gracie' for short.

But that was a year and a half ago. Now there's been a drastic change, and Gracie, once again, needs a family to adopt her. Scott is now in a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care.

Days before his 57th birthday in September, Scott was training on his bicycle to ride the 150-mile Multiple Sclerosis Tour for Cure. On a bridge near Houma, Louisiana, the front tire hit something in the road, maybe a crack. He was thrown over the front, landed on his head and broke his neck.

The once independent, operational engineer at Dow, who spent free time training for duathlons, was now a quadriplegic with only very little use in one arm.

Filled with emotion, he said he learned to accept the change in his life after going to a special place.

'Well it was the experience at Shepherd Center,' said Scott.

At that spinal cord injury rehab center in Atlanta, his emotional life changed. At first, he lay in bed at night for weeks asking God, 'Why me?' Then he met others with the same injury and took a virtual walk in their shoes.

'You get to experience their pain along with yours, and it was through some of their therapy, I realized that it wasn't only me asking that question. They (other patients) were asking God the same question. I was, 'Why me?' and I realized at that time then, 'Why not me?'' remembers Scott.

A family donated a special handicap accessible van that belonged to a deceased loved one. Friends are remodeling his bathroom to his special needs. His entire family, three brothers and a sister and many cousins, has not left his side. His youngest brother remembers when Scott almost died on his birthday.

'It was kind of at that point, I even started thinking to myself, do I want him to make this? You know to live like this because I wouldn't. It got pretty tough then, but I think he pulled us together and he said he wanted to continue on,' said his brother Ward Hoppmeyer, with tears in his eyes.

But there was a problem. Gracie had bonded with Scott and was protective. Se did not do well with so many caretakers coming and going, and Scott could no longer give her the exercise and active life she needed.

'And it absolutely broke my heart, but I had to call Michelle and ask if I could surrender her,' Scott said.

'She's a great watch dog. She's good with kids and she'll protect her own kids, but I don't think she should be put in that situation where she feels that need to protect,' Ingram said of Gracie's personality. Ingram owns a pet daycare center called Zeus' Place.

Scott rescued Gracie in her time of need. Scott's family is now there during his. Now Scott hopes Gracie will not feel abandoned again.

If you want to adopt Gracie, or any of the other cats and dogs that need a home, call 504-304-4718. Families will have home checks, veterinary checks and a background screening. Ingram found 100 homeless animals homes in 2011 through Zeus' Place uptown.

And as you can imagine, Scott's medical care is costly. You can donate to help by clicking on this link.

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