Three-year-old Aoife is today recovering from two-and-a-half hours of re-constructive surgery which will almost fully restore her hearing.
She was found abandoned and with blood spilling from her head near Tramore, Co Waterford, in March. Her ears were hacked off to remove tattoos which would identify her and her former owners.
But with the love and care of Waterford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (WSPCA) welfare officer Andrew Quinn, vets and his volunteers, Aoife’s health has improved dramatically.
“She had the surgery on Monday. She looks terrible at the moment but she’s not in pain. The vet worked on her for two-and-a-half hours and removed a load of gunk from her ears. He also managed to salvage some of the cartilage.
“The operation was paid for through the generosity of the many hundreds who made donations to an appeal we set up after her story was first highlighted in the Irish Examiner.
“Her hearing will improve by another 70% after this operation.
“She’s back with the vet for two more visits and hopefully, that will be the end of it for her.”
Yesterday, Aoife was a little sorry for herself and a bit disorientated after the surgery.
“She’s not in pain. She’s on a lot of medication and will be right as rain again in a few days.”
Aoife’s progress has been closely mapped and monitored. Such was the reaction to her story that get well cards, many of them packed with money, have flooded in from well-wishers all over the country.
Mr Quinn said: “We had one particularly touching card from a playschool in Kerry. The children made the card and they all signed it.
“They also all brought in €1 each and sent us along €15 which has helped with Aoife’s care. We brought Aoife and one of the other dogs down to meet the kids just before the holidays. They were thrilled to meet her.”
Bord na gCon is determined to trace Aoife’s origin and has taken DNA samples to narrow down the litter from which she came. Her blood line has now been established and experts are edging ever closer to finding out who put her through such an ordeal.
*Donations can still be made to the Aoife fund by contacting the SPCA office at Summerland Square, Yellow Road, Waterford.