It's been just more than a month since Louie, the dog who lived, was pulled from a ditch with a broken leg and electrical tape bound around his muzzle. Fast-forward after surgery and lots of TLC later, Louie's story has traveled to international lengths.
And he has no shortage of love coming his way.
The little guy donned a red vest and his most festive, heart-speckled tie to get the celebrity treatment from a pack of about 20 dog-loving first-graders.
Louie spent his Valentine's Day at Southridge Elementary School in Highland surrounded by enthusiastic students, where his new owner, Mary Witting, shared the story of his discovery and road to recovery.
“The kids were so sweet and excited to see him,” Witting said. “The class had been talking about his story for a while and wanted him to visit.”
Each child gave Louie a Valentine's Day gift, from dog toys to treats, along with plenty of pets and affection. Witting brought a copy of Louie's front page story with her and showed where he had his surgery and the spot on his snout where the tape once was.
On the cold night of Jan. 10, Bob Hoelter, of Griffith, heard a little moan coming from Cady Marsh Ditch, between Colfax Avenue and Broad Street, as he was walking. He climbed into the ditch and came out with a shivering, 4-month-old puppy in his jacket.
He took the frail pup to Griffith Animal Hospital, where staff described him as a tiny skeleton from starvation. X-rays revealed the puppy had a broken back leg and he underwent surgery in January.
Louie's story has traveled great distances, with newspapers from China and Belgium calling the Griffith Animal Hospital, where Louie was treated, to get the scoop on the little guy's journey. His story also has been featured on The Dodo, a national animal-centric news site.
“There were 2,500 comments,” Witting said. “People all over the world were responding to his story. It's unbelievable.”
Witting said Louie had his stitches taken out and the metal pin in his leg is set to be removed in about a month.
“He's doing great,” Witting said. “You would never know he's recovering. He's like a little rocket man running around, carrying toys twice his size up and down the stairs.”
Now fans can follow the spunky survivor on his official Facebook page, “Life of Louie,” where the little dog can be seen having adventures in laundry baskets and romping among his many toys. Louie also can be seen sporting an array of fashionware, such as tiny vests and bandanas.
“You'd think after everything he's been through he'd be timid, but he's not,” Witting said. “He's full of kisses and love.”