BURLINGAME -- A 2-month-old puppy with her fur dyed pink was found lying injured in the street near the East Palo Alto IKEA store, and shelter officials are looking for a home to heal her after the owners failed to surface.
The female Chihuahua, affectionately dubbed "Candy" because of her patchy pastel and hot pink coat, was found about 5 p.m. Jan. 13 near the intersection of Donahoe Street and East Bayshore Road near Interstate 101, Peninsula Humane Society officials said. The five- to eight-pound puppy was unable to use her back right leg, and X-rays revealed a hairline fracture of her right rear tibia.
No owners have come forward to claim or report missing the "mystery" dog, which was not equipped with a microchip, collar or ID tags, officials said. The puppy, who does not currently require a cast or surgery, is resting at the human society and being treated with pain medication.
Officials do not believe any abuse was involved in the case and say the dog may have been hurt after she'd already gone astray. Medical staff do not suspect she was hit by a car and say the injury is more consistent with jumping off an elevated object or perhaps being stepped on.
"If we suspected she was mistreated, then it would be a different scenario," said PHS/SPCA spokesman Scott Delucchi. "She wasn't malnourished, she doesn't have fleas -- these kinds of injuries can happen fairly easily."
Delucchi also said the kind of dye that was used to color the dog's fur does not appear to be harmful and is also not indicative of any mistreatment. On the contrary, he said, such "styling" often suggests a sort of affection that conflicts with the idea that she hasn't yet been claimed.
"The fact that she was dyed pink tells us there was at least some level of attachment," Delucchi said. "It's odd that with that level of attachment no one has tried to find her,"
Because the legally-mandated period for an owner to come forward expired Jan. 17, humane society officials are now looking for a new owner or foster parents to take in the recovering animal. Delucchi noted that her first few months in a new home should be quiet and recuperative, preferably with no other pets or children with a high activity level.
"We don't know if an owner is missing this dog and hoping to be reunited, but, if so, that would be our priority," Delucchi said. "If not, it would be ideal if we could find one person who could foster her through her recuperation and be the adopter after that -- just so she doesn't bounce around."
Medical staff will continue to supervise and medicate Candy until either a foster or permanent home is found, Delucchi said. Employees are still learning about the tiny pup's demeanor, he added, as she has been on consistent kennel rest with very limited activity.
Interested adopters and foster parents may contact the Peninsula Humane Society at 650-340-7022, ext. 382. The shelter encourages any owners of missing pets to visit the intake facility at 12 Airport Blvd. in San Mateo, where residents can look at the stray animals and file a Lost Animal report.
"We're really hopeful that there's a happy ending here," Delucchi said. "There are a lot of really good people out there. All we need is one good home."