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Abandoned puppy labeled 'free' in permanent marker finds new home

Marvella has brighter days ahead of her!
/ Source: TODAY

A puppy abandoned in a park with the words “free” and “good home only” written on her body in black permanent marker has found a forever home.

According to Sarah Cantrell, office manager and adoption coordinator at the Ross County Humane Society in Chillicothe, Ohio, the Lab-mix puppy was dumped in Yoctangee Park ahead of the Feast of the Flowering Moon Festival, which takes place during Memorial Day weekend.

The dog’s owner has been charged with cruelty to animals, abandonment and failure to license.

Dog abandoned with writing on body
Marvella is one of roughly 1,200 dogs who end up at Ross County Humane Society each year.Ross County Humane Society

“We were all kind of shocked,” Cantrell told TODAY about seeing the puppy with messages inked on its coat. “It just seems like a childish thing to do.”

The Ross County Humane Society takes in approximately 1,200 dogs per year and charges a $50 “surrender fee” to offset its costs in caring for the unwanted animals. Cantrell says the pet owner was told by her landlord that she couldn't keep the dog. But she stresses there are other avenues to explore if a person cannot keep a dog, including finding a rescue or approaching her organization with the specific situation.

“We will work with people,” she said.

Dog abandoned with writing all over her body
Marvella's situation was surprising even to a staff accustomed to dealing with cases of abuse and neglect.Ross County Humane Society

Thankfully, the dog, who has since been named Marvella (meaning miracle), is faring well. “She’s healthy and sweet and thankfully did not suffer from heat exposure,” said Cantrell. Many dogs that are dumped do not survive or even make it to a shelter.

Marvella was given a bath, which removed much of the permanent marker, and spent time enjoying treats and attention from staff.

Dog abandoned with writing all over her body
Marvella cleans up nicely!Ross County Humane Society

In this case, the Chillicothe Police Department was called on May 24 when Marvella was spotted, and the dog warden brought her to Ross County Humane Society.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in Marvella and yesterday, a family that had put in an application got approved and came and adopted her,” said Cantrell.

Dog abandoned with writing all over her body
Marvella has quickly taken to her new environment.Ross County Humane Society

While Marvella has found her permanent home, other dogs still need help.

"We are nonprofit and typically spend $278 on each dog that comes in here,” said Cantrell. “Adoption fees range from $130-$200.” Ross County Humane Society's website has more information for those looking to adopt a pet or help out in other ways.