Luke shares story of abuse and love

PHOTO PROVIDED Luke, poses in his Halloween costume in 2015 with a friend at the Lycoming County SPCA.

To look at Luke today, one would never guess the 3-year-old had been through so much in such a short time. The Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals met Luke when a report was filed claiming his owner had thrown the 4-month-old puppy against a wall because he had an accident in the house. The puppy suffered all night before his owner’s mother saw the puppy in distress with an obvious leg injury and immediately took him to a veterinarian. The SPCA was notified and Lycoming County Humane Society police officers Larry Woltz and Jan Lechler took the puppy into protective custody on Oct. 15, 2014.

Luke was underweight and had worms. More importantly, he required immediate surgery to repair the broken leg. The surgery included two plates and multiple screws to repair the break in his hip.

After the surgery Luke needed ice packs applied multiple times a day for three days, then alternating heat and ice for another three days. Luke’s rehabilitation then included range of motion exercises for weeks and walks with a sling that SPCA volunteers would hold to keep the full weight off of Luke’s hind leg. A handful of SPCA volunteers and staff were trained in his physical therapy and helped to rehabilitate the pup.

As Luke was recuperating, a legal battle was going on to prevent Luke from going back to the same home and to prosecute the abuse. Complicated posturing by witnesses of the abuse, a jury trial and appeals by Luke’s original owner prolonged Luke’s ability to be adopted.

Weeks became months and Luke was still not legally available to for adoption. Luke continued his therapy and waited. Finally, Luke was cleared physically for more activities. He enjoyed attending various outings in the community with some of his favorite volunteers and made friends with other adoptable animals at the shelter. He became an SPCA Yappy Hour favorite insisting on sitting in a chair at events or preferably on his handlers lap. He also participated in various behavior programs individually and with other dogs to improve his manners and leash skills. He even was a member of the Freedom Runner volunteers that go into the community two to three days each week to exercise and show off their skills in town. Then it happened. Lycoming County Judge Lovecchio, with the help of the District Attorney’s office, awarded Luke forfeited to the SPCA and made available for adoption. On Nov. 20, 2015, 401 days after being taken into protective custody, Luke was adopted.

On Nov. 4 at the Genetti Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Luke will walk the red carpet with his entire family. Unbeknownst to Luke, his advocates from the District Attorney’s Office (who have never met Luke) will speak about Luke’s journey.