Fortunately, it has a happy ending.
A quick-thinking teacher had alerted the SPCA Tampa Bay when two young children told her about their puppy. They said Sox was "dying slowly" in their bathroom at home, according to the SPCA.
The SPCA investigated and found a nine-month-old yorkie-poodle mix covered with feces and a rubber band around its muzzle. The owner agreed to take the puppy with its infected and cut muzzle, to the veterinarian, the SPCA said. But when the agency followed up the next day, Sox had not yet received any medical care, according to the SPCA.
The SPCA asked the owner to surrender the dog and Sox' journey at the SPCA began, the SPCA said.
For the first week the wounded pup lived with SPCA CEO Martha Boden. Sox, though, would not come out of his little carrier. Timid, he hid in the back of the plastic crate on a soft cushion. When he did come out, he just shook, Boden said.
Sox needed to learn how to be a dog, and Sox needed time for the cuts and infection in his muzzle to heal. He also needed to discover love and that his new life would not involve hurt, loneliness and pain.
Sox had apparently spent most of his early life alone in a bathroom, the SPCA said. Now in his new St. Petersburg foster home, Sox was befriended by a pit bull that nurtured, house broke and played with the pup.
At first glimpse Sox' wounds are not visible today. He runs, jumps, and plays like any puppy with his little tail-wagging non-stop.
A close look at Sox' face shows the faint-rubber band line, where it had been embedded in his muzzle and was resulting in his starvation and slow death.
Now he is 95 percent healed and has no problems with his sinuses, Boden said.
"He eats fine and loves frosty paws. He likes to stick his nose and head in the water bowl and fish out ice cubes. His muzzle does not seem to bother him," said Cindy Crane, who fostered Sox.
As Sox healed, the SPCA had well over 100 inquiries from around Florida to adopt him. A total of 25 families actually applied to adopt Sox. The SPCA reviewed the applications and looked for a family that had dogs in their home already, so Sox could continue to learn from other dogs, said Adoption Manager Angela Durden.
Sox picked his new family. Sox warmed up right away to the Chambers' family of Largo. They were one of three families the SPCA had visit Sox for a meet and greet.
"As soon as I saw his picture. I was afraid he would not be adopted. Once I found out he was available for adoption, I put my name in," said Lori Chambers.
As an ambassador for the SPCA, Sox got a new silver collar and leash with the organization's logo, which he wore on his way to his forever home in Largo.
Misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty are still pending against Sox' former owner, according to the SPCA.
* updated 2/11/12 1:28 p.m.