New owner says she cried when she read about how cruel someone had been to the puppy, found along the Schuylkill River in January
By Steven Henshaw
When you see Olivia the pit bull puppy playfully wrestling with two older dogs on the living room floor of her new Boyertown home, it's all the harder to understand how someone could have thrown her over a bank of the Schuylkill River like a worn-out tire.
Fortunately for Olivia, loving care seems to have wiped away any memories of abandonment and the resulting leg injury that kept her confined to a cage for several weeks.
One of Olivia's new owners, Amanda Schearer, 19, said she cried when she read about how cruel someone had been to the puppy in January, when Olivia was about 4 months old.
The puppy was rescued Jan. 4 after boys playing in Baer Park in northwest Reading heard her cries and went to investigate, authorities said. They found her limping in thick brush along the shore. The pet carrier she had been in when she was tossed over the bank was stuck on a tree branch.
Animal Rescue League personnel rescued her and took her to the organization's shelter in Cumru Township.
It took dogged determination for Schearer and her boyfriend, Ben Sell, 22, to adopt Olivia because several other people wanted her after reading of her plight in the Reading Eagle.
Sell said he was so upset when he read about the puppy that he called Schearer from his job and suggested they adopt her.
The couple, who already own a 1-year-old male pit bull, were looking to get another dog anyway, Sell said.
But he warned his girlfriend that other people would be in line and that she would have to be persistent.
"I was calling the Animal Rescue League every day," Schearer said. "It got to where they'd say, 'Hi, Amanda.' "
Vicky Hoffman, an Animal Rescue League volunteer, named the puppy Olivia. The dog's broken leg was surgically repaired at an area veterinary hospital.
Staff and volunteers showered Olivia with love and attention during her two-month recuperation.
In early March, Schearer and Sell took her home. Schearer had agreed to take Olivia to water therapy appointments, which ended this month.
Harry D. Brown III, executive director of the Animal Rescue League, said the organization is grateful to local veterinarians for helping with Olivia's care and recovery.
As for her new owners, Brown said, the couple's interest in Olivia was quite evident.
"They spent a lot of time with her during her rehabilitation," he said.
Olivia shows few lingering effects of the leg injury, Schearer said.
"She's a little stiff in the morning when she first gets up, but once she starts moving around she's fine," Schearer said.
As Schearer and Sell talk about her, Olivia takes a break from gnawing on the ear of the couple's other dog and starts chewing not so gently on a visitor's hand.
It's clear she's found a loving home.
"She's a lap dog," Sell said. "She wants to lie on your lap and sleep."