MINNEAPOLIS -- A dog that apparently survived a caustic chemical attack in Missouri is thriving during his first few days in a Twin Cities foster care program.
Volunteers at Secondhand Hounds picked up the dog they've nicknamed "Coen the Survivor" on Sunday at a Kansas City shelter. His paperwork listed him simply as a "stray" with no back story to explain his missing fur and irritated hide.
"The shelter suggested somebody had actually doused him in gasoline or acid, but at this point it is hard to tell," Jane Mesna, an Edina college student serving as a temporary foster parent for Coen, told KARE.
Mesna said early lab tests had already ruled out a common skin diseases, and veterinarians are still trying to determine if Coen suffers from an auto-immune disorder that would result in such hair loss.
She was part of the team from Secondhand Hounds that spotted Coen at the shelter, while on a trip to Kansas and Missouri to rescue dogs that may otherwise be euthanized.
"We just couldn't believe what we saw. We were heartbroken and he was just laying there, kind of licking his wounds and everything like that, but he just absolutely stole our hearts," she said.
Mesna realized Coen would be perfect for the Secondhand Hounds foster program, designed to let rescued dogs become accustomed to living with a family until they're ready to be adopted.
The nonprofit program launched an online fundraising drive Wednesday to cover the cost of Coen's medical treatment, in hopes of raising $3,000 in 50 days. The goal was met in a matter of hours.
"We were all just completely blown away at the generosity that some people have towards these animals they don't even know that well," Mesna remarked.
The name "Coen" was picked by one especially generous donor who initially helped pay for transporting the rescued animals, and then made another large donation to the rehabilitation effort.
Extra donations will be funneled to the Secondhand Hounds Fighter Fund, which is geared toward saving dogs with special medical needs.
The shelter in Missouri was under the impression that he's an Australian Shepherd, but some of the people who've seen him in Minnesota are speculating he may be Great Dane hound mix.
Mesna, a biology major at Colby College in Maine, plans to become a veterinarian. Coen is the 11th dog she has foster parented, and by far the most gentle one she's encountered.
"Considering how hungry he must be, being 20 pounds under weight, he couldn't be any more gentle taking food from you," she explained.
"It's encouraging to what kind of pet he's going to make in the future for somebody."