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Happy ending for dog found in outhouse holding tank in Guelph, Ont.

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An abandoned dog has a new home after it was found starving and covered in human waste at a conservation area in Guelph, Ont.

The Chihuahua, now known as Cleo, was discovered last month in an in-ground outhouse holding tank at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area just north of the city. She had red marks along her belly and legs and a severe dental infection.

"It's hard to talk about, it's hard to think about," said Samantha Westphal, animal care manager at Guelph Humane Society. "It's hard to imagine someone doing that to an animal."

The humane society said the dog was starving and suffering from severe physical and emotional trauma, but she’s made remarkable progress in the past few weeks.

Cleo the Chihuahua and the Guelph Lake washroom where she was found abandoned. (Source: Guelph Humane Society and Shelby Knox/CTV Kitchener)

Lindsay, an animal care attendant at the shelter, was one of the first people to meet Cleo.

“There was a message that said an emaciated Chihuahua was en route,” she told CTV News on Thursday. “So we were all ready when she came. She obviously smelled really bad. But she was also very thin, nervous and scared. She was still very sweet. We gave her a bath. Her nails were very long, so one of my co-worker clipped her nails. Then we sent her off to the vet to make sure she was OK. She was a bit nervous.”

There also were concerns about what to do with Cleo.

“We obviously didn’t want to leave her at the shelter overnight because she’d been through [a lot],” Lindsay said. “I took her home for the night. I had given her another bath when I went home because she still smelled bad. When I took her home she was nervous.”

Cleo was initially put in a crate at Lindsay’s home so the two could work on building trust.

“The first time she came out was when my boyfriend came downstairs with some cookies. She’s very food motivated,” she said laughing. “She likes treats, any treats.”

Cleo the dog has found a new home after being found in deplorable condition. (Source: Guelph Humane Society)

Cleo’s made steady progress since she started staying with Lindsay.

“It’s been really nice to see her come out of her shell and not be so scared of everything anymore,” she said. “The first time she wagged her tail was a couple days after I had her and it was when I picked up the leash [for a walk].”

The Chihuahua, however, doesn’t know commands and Lindsay is working on getting her toilet trained.

Cleo also has a ways to go in terms of her health. Her teeth are in bad condition and she needs to be spayed. Her weight is also a concern. Cleo’s currently on a refeeding diet to help get her weight up.

Lindsay knows Cleo’s been through a lot.

“I don’t understand why anyone would put an animal in a toilet. She’s honestly so good,” she said.

Washroom at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area where Cleo the Chihuahua was found. (Shelby Knox/CTV Kitchener)

The two get along so well Lindsay decided that Cleo should stay with her permanently.

“There is a bond and there inssecurity, safety and trust,” Lisa Veit, the humane society’s executive director, said. “Cleo has made great strides in her foster home. Given her horrific ordeal of how she came into care, we knew that this was best for her.”

Lindsay is thrilled to give Cleo a permanent home.

“It makes me happy that she likes me so much, as much as I like her.”

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