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      Dog rescued from puppy mill battles cancer

      Only six months ago, Sweetie Pie never knew what green grass felt like beneath her paws. She had barely seen the sun and hadn't ventured outside a metal cage she shared with other dogs.

      Still half a year later, the Humane Society of Sandusky County is footing medical bills for the 35 animals rescued from former breeder Susan Baker's Fremont home.

      While most of the dogs and cats found permanent or foster homes to help them adjust to life outside the cage, many were never spayed or neutered, needed teeth pulled from gnawing on the metal bars and even developed cancerous tumors from breeding over and over.

      Sweetie Pie the Schnoodle is one of these dogs now fighting for her life. Foster mom Beth Risenburg remembers the day she found an angry red tumor on the dog's leg, only to receive a tragic diagnosis at the veterinarian's office.

      "He said that (the cancer is) advanced, we need to have surgery now, and I said, 'OK, well we don't have a lot of money, what are we looking at,'" Risenburg said. "He said $1,500."

      Sweetie Pie needs two surgeries to remove her mammary glands and skin cancer tumors. As much as the humane society wants to help, the group itself is struggling to care for the other animals taken from Baker's home.

      With support from friends and her endless love for the aging Schnoodle, Risenburg is fundraising multiple ways to pay for the surgeries.

      "If she was a human being, there would be no doubt in my mind that people would be like, yes we need to do this," Risenburg said, holding back tears. "But for an animal, it takes meeting them to know how much they give to you. I can't imagine betraying the trust of her love to me by not getting her healthy."

      Through her Facebook group, Save Sweetie Pie , Risenburg details three ways to help the dog:

      1) Earmark a donation for Sweetie Pie through PayPal

      2) Donate to the Humane Society of Sandusky County, (419) 334-4517. Make sure you state that the donation should be earmarked for Sweetie Pie's surgeries

      3) Order from Julie Horn of percent of the proceeds go toward the surgery (order details found here and on Save Sweetie Pie Facebook group)

      When Sweetie Pie gets healthy, Risenburg plans to take her to nursing homes to interact with ailing seniors. She believes Sweetie's calm, gentle and loving personality will change lives.

      Note: Risenburg is seeking a second opinion to see if she can get Sweetie Pie's surgeries any cheaper. If you have already earmarked a donation to the Fremont Animal Hospital, please contact to help her keep track.