Dog set on fire survives

Labrador retriever suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns

HOUSTON - A dog set on fire and left to die is recovering with the help of an animal rescue group and Texas A&M's veterinary school.

An city animal control officer found the young purebred Labrador retriever roaming the streets near Hobby Airport a couple of weeks ago. Doctors said the black purebred had second and third-degree burns over half of his body.

Scout's Honor, an animal rescue group, took charge of the badly injured survivor and transported him to Texas A&M University, where he is being cared for at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"He'd been out about five to seven days with open wounds and burns," said Brian Hillendahl with Scout's Honor. "And Texas A&M told us they thought it was a miracle that he didn't have any infections, no maggots in his wounds or anything, even though he'd been out on the street for a week in that condition."

Doctors have nicknamed the dog Pier after a Dutch sea captain who also survived in the face of great odds.

No one will ever know who hurt the lab and exactly how they did it. Pier's doctors have studied the burn pattern and said they have theorized someone doused him in gasoline, set him on fire, and left him to fend for himself.

"It just astounds me," said Hillendahl. "If you ever met the dog, he's so friendly, so nice, all he wants to do is come up and nuzzle you. I can't imagine why anyone would want to do something to a dog like that."

Veterinarians said Pier is expected to make a full recovery. His rescuers said they have lined up a foster family to take him in and care for him once his wounds have healed.

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