MADISON (WKOW) -- For the first time in recent memory, an emaciated dog may have a shot at a happy future.
Braveheart, a retriever, was picked up by an animal control officer in Kentucky last month. He had three kinds of worm infections, sores, and a case of mange.
He was in such bad shape that several rescue operations passed on taking him in for care.
But one family, the Houge's of Columbus, took a shot on Braveheart.
"It didn't scare me," said Marti Houge, who runs One Starfish Rehoming Connections with her husband, Jim. "We'd dealt with dogs like that before. I like a good fixer upper."
The Houge's decided to take Braveheart home to live among the other dogs under their care. But Braveheart's health took a turn for the worse soon after arriving at One Starfish.
He couldn't keep down food and was noticeably sluggish. So, the Houge's took him to the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Care hospital.
Now, he's on the long road to recovery.
"He's stable, but I don't think he's out of the woods yet," said Daniel Foy, a veterinarian at the hospital. "He has a lot of concurrent diseases."
Foy says Braveheart will need extended care that could last weeks or months.
In the meantime, the courageous retriever has drawn quite an online following. Thousands of people are following "Braveheart's Battle" on Facebook.
If you are interested in making a contribution for Braveheart's care, you can contact Kristi Thorson at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine by calling (608) 265-9692 or emailing KVTHORSON@VETMED.WISC.EDU.