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Neglected Maltese continues to improve

Rachelle Kern took in Angel after the dog was rescued from a cage where she was left to die. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Six weeks ago a starving and feces-matted Maltese cross was rescued from a cage in a Park Rapids home where she was left to die.

This week, Angel had her stitches out from cancer surgery and seemed bright-eyed. The tail will get bushier with time.

"She's doing great," said her adopted mom, Rachelle Kern, who works at Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids and took the little dog in.

Angel comes to work with Rachelle every day and has become the poster child for the shelter's Herculean efforts to save her.

"She's even gained a pound!" Kern said.

Mammarian tumors believed to be malignant were removed from her last week at Ark Animal Hospital, which provides care at a reduced rate to the shelter.

Her prognosis is fair, Kern said. If the tumors metastasize, depending on Angel's health, they will be removed again in the future.

Charges are pending against Angel's former owners, who are not named until then.

Meanwhile Angel's wardrobe is growing thanks to her fans and Kern's co-workers.

Thursday she was sporting a pink collar, a pink wool coat with rhinestone buttons and pink nail polish.

She had been so neglected, it took days to make her presentable. She jumps off her bed at Headwaters to greet visitors, but she keeps a close eye on Kern, her savior.

She's adjusted well to Kern's house full of dogs, especially the Newfoundland, and office life after abuse.

She knows she's special. She pushes her tiny nose into your face to nuzzle.

"We're crossing our fingers and hoping," Kern said. "She's lively and acting like a normal dog would act. There's always a trust issue after something like that."

And even if she's on borrowed time, she's living life to the fullest.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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