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She's a hero: Abigail, rehabbed by Lehigh rescue, wins American Humane award

September 27, 2017
By ERIC DeVAUX ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

From near death to a miracle recovery, local pit-bull mix Abigail, who was nursed back to health in Lehigh Acres, was named the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog.

The awards gala took place Sept. 16 in Los Angeles, California.

Abigail's tale starts in Miami, where she allegedly was involved in dogfighting.

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Local pit-bull mix Abigail, who was nursed back to health in Lehigh Acres, was recently named the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog.

"Originally, we thought that maybe she had just got into a scuffle with a dog at one point or a wild animal," Victoria Frazier, founder of Love Is Fur Ever Dog Rescue, which nursed Abigail back to health, said. "But when we went to go shave her down to look at the rest of the wounds on her body, they are all old puncture wounds and scars from what it looked like."

"If you've seen a dog in dog fighting, a lot of the dogs go for the neck, head and then the back legs, as well," she said. "All of those signs pointed to suspected bate dog in a dog fighting ring."

Victoria and her husband found Abigail through an online site that features shelter dogs with urgent medical problems. Her husband was in Homestead at the time on active duty with the Air Force.

"I asked him if he would mind picking her up because they wouldn't release her that day that we emailed the shelter," Frazier said.

Abigail arrived in Lehigh on Feb. 14, 2016. She immediately went into the pet clinic.

"We removed the bandages from the shelter," Frazier said. "It was a lot worse than what we expected. She had a ton of infections. She smelled like death. It was, by far, horrific."

Two to three weeks later, Abigail had to have her bandages changed two to three times a day and had to be sedated every time. She had to have four surgeries to repair her head, which was heavily damaged.

At first Abigail was distant, but then she got comfortable in her new environment.

"The first day we brought her in, she didn't know what to do," Frazier said. "She hid in a corner and my husband and I and the doctor told her, 'Come here,' and we patted her on the floor and sat with her on the floor. It was just moments later that she actually laid her head on my chest."

The next step was for Love Is Fur Ever Dog Rescue to find a forever home for Abigail. In July, she was adopted by her new foster family - Jason and Megan Steinke, of Fort Myers. Abigail fit right in.

"She has settled in perfectly to our family," Megan Steinke said. "There really wasn't any sort of a rough transition. She came into our home and knew that's where she was meant to be."

The Steinkes have another rescue dog, which is also a pit-bull mix.

"They both just took to each other," Steinke said. "Just like best of friends."

As the days have gone by, Abigail has shown improvements in her character and playfulness.

"She is really sassy," Steinke said.

The Steinkes, Victoria Frazier and Abigail flew out to Los Angeles to attend the American Humane Hero Dog Awards Gala. Abigail had already received the year's Emerging Hero Dog award.

She was announced as the overall winner out of a pool of seven finalists.

"It was the most magical moment," Steinke said. "It was as if time stood still. My heart was so overjoyed with happiness, but at the same time my heart was semi-broken because she had to endure a horrific life of pain and suffering at the hands of some ugly humans to get to the point she is today."



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