SUPERFICIAL SCARS: Despite history of violent abuse, shelter staff says lovable dog ready for adoption


AURORA | The scars of Maddie’s abuse might only be visible on the outside, but they definitely don’t show in her personality.

The adoptable, 1-year-old black Labrador retriever-mix at the Aurora Animal Shelter is exuberant, energetic and a lover of all people.

“Maddie is the kind of dog that, regardless of what you’ve done to her, she’s going to forgive you instantly,” said Cheryl Conway, spokeswoman for the animal shelter.

Shelter staff are currently accepting donations to offset the costs of the dog’s veterinary and dental expenses, which amounted to about $6,000 after she was severely beaten in January.

Charges against the dog’s former owner are currently pending, and Conway couldn’t elaborate on details of the incident.

“The veterinarians said the extent of the injuries were comparable to trauma that would have been sustained if she was hit by a car, but in their professional experience, it was obvious to the vets that Maddie’s injuries resulted from a beating,” Conway said. “We’re not going to go into a lot of detail on that abuse because we don’t want to compromise our court case.”

The dog has been at the shelter for the past six months, and Conway hopes to match Maddie up with a loving, patient and active family.

“We’ve been making sure all her wounds and traumas are healed and taken care of and then (shelter staff) have been working with her on basic obedience,” Conway said.

Maddie would be an ideal fit for a family who likes to be outdoors, boating, running or hiking, Conway said.

“She’s smart, she learns quickly, and she’s going to make somebody a fantastic lifelong pet,” she said.

She has no concerns about Maddie being aggressive toward people or children, even with the abuse inflicted by her previous owner.

“You’d never know if you’re just meeting her that she comes from an abused background,” Conway said.

Barb Downen, the animal care officer who was dispatched to the Alameda East Veterinary Hospital to investigate the cruelty case Jan. 30, says Maddie is still very much a puppy.

“She loves life,” she said. “The first 15 minutes when she gets out of the kennel she’s like ‘Yay, I’m free,’ and she wants to be crazy but she does settle down pretty quickly and listens pretty good once she gets that energy out of the way.”

Labradors stay in puppy-hood until about 3 years old, longer than most other dogs, Conway said, so the adoptive family must be willing to continue her training and obedience lessons.

Downen recommends against adopting Maddie out to a family with toddlers, simply because of the dog’s bursts of energy. Given her history, Downen is surprised at what a friendly dog Maddie is.

“She really doesn’t have any animosity towards people at all,” she said.

Shelter staff will screen potential adopters before selecting the best fit for Maddie.

To donate money to help offset Maddie’s veterinary bills, visit and click “Donate to the Aurora Animal Shelter.” In the subject line, type “Maddie.”

To report suspected animal cruelty cases, call the Aurora Animal Shelter at 303-326-8288.


Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or [email protected]


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Aimee Pemberton
Aimee Pemberton
10 years ago

What a beautiful girl! I have two boys from The Aurora Animal Shelter. I couldn’t have asked for better dogs. I am sure she will be a wonderful addition to someones family. Good Luck Maddie!