Dog that smiles despite being shot in NC gets nickname. Turns out, it’s her real name

 Dog that smiles despite being shot in NC gets nickname. Turns out, it’s her real name

A dog rescued in North Carolina had a “rough go.”

But the shelter caring for her said she still “smiles when she sees you.” So they gave her a fitting nickname that they later found out is her real name: Smiley.

Smiley was brought to the Pender County Animal Shelter in Eastern North Carolina by animal control, which got a call about stray dogs roaming an area in the western part of the county, Jewell Horton, the shelter manager, told McClatchy News on Thursday.

Horton said some of the dogs were nervous and had to be trapped. But Smiley was “very happy to see the officer.”

“The reason she has the name Smiley is because literally when she sees you, she smiles at you,” Horton said.

Staff, however, immediately noticed Smiley had been through trauma, Horton said. She was “extremely underweight” and one of her legs was “extremely swollen.”

A radiograph at the veterinary hospital showed she had been shot at some point, Horton said, and neighbors reported that she had been hit by a car about three weeks ago.

The vet said her leg injury could’ve been from being hit by a car or being shot, or from cancer or another disease.

“Regardless, this was an obvious problem,” Horton said. And Smiley’s leg had to be amputated.

But when she woke up from surgery, Horton said she started wagging her tail at staff, “like ‘can I have dinner?’”

“She is so tough,” Horton said. “She’s just a tough old girl.”

Staff estimates Smiley is between 8 and 10 years old and “some type of hound mix,” Horton says.

The shelter posted about Smiley’s story on Facebook on Wednesday, saying she is “super bright and happy to see everyone today.” The post had been shared more than 190 times as of Thursday afternoon.

Horton said someone in the area who recognized the dog contacted the shelter Thursday about the Facebook post and told them Smiley is her real name, given to her by her previous owner.

The shelter doesn’t have details about Smiley’s previous owner, but Horton said it’s believed the person hasn’t been “in the picture” for a while.

“She has had a very long, rough life,” Horton said. “Always been a stray roaming dog and has lots of puppies.”

Horton also encouraged the public to say something if they see something.

“This dog has suffered for a long time and that’s not OK,” Horton said. “That ‘see something say something’ — that’s important. Obviously they can’t say something for themselves.”

Horton said Smiley has a “long way to go” and that the shelter is unsure if she will be put up for public adoption as it depends on how she’s advancing and the results of testing on her amputated leg. But they would like for a rescue group to be able to help her further.

“Whether she’s got six months or six years left, she deserves a nice couch and a soft landing,” Horton said.