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Saving Skippy

Employee gives dog new leash on life

Laura Domnick, a Wilmington, DE, letter carrier, holds Skippy, the Pomeranian mix she discovered on a roadside last month. Images: Faithful Friends Animal Society

Laura Domnick, a letter carrier for 19 years in Wilmington, DE, had taken a vacation day last month, but she had not taken a break from caring about animals in her community.

That’s why Domnick stopped when she spotted a creature lying motionless beside a road. As she got closer, she could tell it was a small dog, and she feared the worst.

Suddenly, the dog looked up at her with pleading eyes. She knew then that hope was not lost, but there was no time to waste.

Domnick scooped up the dog — an 8-pound male Pomeranian mix with matted fur covered in fleas — and rushed him to Faithful Friends Animal Society, a shelter where she has volunteered for six years.

With no identification tag or microchip, the dog was soon dubbed “Skippy” by shelter staffers and diagnosed with multiple conditions — including bilateral hind-limb paralysis, partial blindness and an enlarged heart — that had led to his apparent abandonment.

Any other scenario seemed unlikely, according to Jane Pierantozzi, executive director of Faithful Friends.

“He was just so matted and so weak, with so many things wrong with him,” she said.

Still, the shelter provided a three-day window for Skippy’s owner to claim him.

No one stepped forward.

After intensive veterinary treatment, Skippy — believed to be around 6 years old — was outfitted with a temporary wheelchair and moved to a foster home. Faithful Friends then launched a fundraising campaign for his ongoing medical needs, including a customized permanent wheelchair, and made him available for adoption.

Good news has followed for Skippy, now also known as Stanley in his foster home, and Faithful Friends: His fundraising goal has been exceeded, with surplus money benefiting others with special needs among the shelter’s annual caseload of 1,500-1,700 animals.

Remarkably, in response to medications, swimming pool therapy and massage, he has also started to use his hind legs — likely eliminating his reliance on a wheelchair.

“He is incredibly fortunate that Laura drove by and stopped to help him,” said Pierantozzi, who praises postal workers — with their keen eyes and strong community connections — as “a great resource for animals at risk.”

Domnick, who has three cats, regularly fields animal-related concerns from postal customers, especially those who may be reluctant to approach a shelter. And she doesn’t hesitate to reach out to victims of animal cruelty — no matter how heartbreaking the situation may be.

“I believe they always deserve that second chance,” Domnick said. “If they don’t make it, at least they didn’t die on the street with no one to show them love.”

As for Skippy’s success story?

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’m so happy that he’s doing well.”

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