Abused Puppy Finds Alameda Home

Umbrella of Hope Chloe Levenson-Cupp of Alameda plays with her newly-adopted puppy “Buddy,” aka “Fireman.”

Twelve-year old Chloe Levenson-Cupp of Alameda has a new best friend, one that she can relate to. When she was a baby Levenson-Cupp suffered burns from tea that had been spilled on her. Her new friend, a Chihuahua so loved that he has two names also suffered burns.

On March 30 workers at Antioch Animal Services discovered the puppy someone had tortured and abandoned in the middle of the night with major burns on its ears and stomach. Authorities suspect that people at a foster home had burned the pet with chemicals, perhaps trying to set its ears on fire. The puppy that the volunteers at first named "Fireman — his "official" name is now "Buddy" — had surgery to remove both its ears, and then required months of medical care.

Diane Denning, a volunteer at the shelter, discovered Fireman hiding behind a plastic children’s swimming pool in the play yard at Antioch Animal Services. Fireman was lucky that Denning found him. The play yard had been locked for a week, under quarantine due to a Parvovirus outbreak at the shelter.

Kristy Keusch, one of the volunteers at the shelter, decided to foster Fireman. "He was in the shelter for two-days before I saw him for the first time, and it only took me a matter of seconds to decide that I had to take him home," Keusch later wrote in East County Today. "I could not fathom him laying all alone, scared and shaking for another night."

The folks at animal services turned to the "Umbrella of Hope" in Pittsburg to help find Fireman a home. Television, radio and newspaper stories shared the abused dog’s story, and the organization received applications from thousands of people. But Umbrella of Hope was looking for someone special, someone who who could really understand and relate what had happened to Fireman.

When the volunteers got a call from Levenson-Cupp and learned that she was also a burn survivor, they knew that they had found a match. She told Umbrella of Hope that she just felt like Fireman (aka Buddy) understood her and maybe she could understand him as well.

"I have always felt Fireman had a greater purpose than just being a family pet," Keusch wrote. "I always felt he would somehow change a life or even the world and I feel that he will do that for Chloe and with Chloe. Together they can help other burn survivors see there is a rainbow after the storm."

Fido Alert in East Contra Costa County is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to locating the person or persons responsible for causing this innocent dog’s injuries.

"Someone knows something or someone. Whether this was an act of cruelty, neglect or an accident, this little guy should not have been left alone in the middle of the night even if it was within feet of the shelter," a Fido Alert spokesperson said. Anyone with information is asked to call (925) 779-6989.