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An emaciated Boston terrier puppy whose skin is ravaged by mange continues to defy the odds as his condition slowly improves.

But that doesn't mean Libre is out of the woods or that his condition isn't still critical.

"At this point we're taking it hour by hour," said Michelle Hall, certified veterinary technician for the Dillsburg Veterinary Center. "We're assuming it's probably a long road ahead."

Center veterinarian and owner Dr. Ivan Pryor and his staff are giving Libre 24-hour care, meaning Pryor is taking the 4-month-old pup home with him at nights and on weekends, Hall said.

"He's a lot of work, and a lot of us miss our lunches (to care for him)," Hall said. "But he deserves only the best treatment. ... Had he not come in when he did, he probably wouldn't be with us anymore."

Libre was saved by a delivery truck driver who saw him a number of times over a two-month period at an Amish dog-breeding farm in Lancaster County and convinced the owners to give him the dog on July 4 so he could get help for it, according to a Lancaster Online article. The Lancaster County SPCA is declining to press charges against the breeder, according to the article.

More than 16,000 people have so far signed a Justice for Libre online petition at Change.org. The petition seeks to have the breeders criminally charged.

The driver got the pup to a former humane officer, who took it to an emergency veterinary center and contacted Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg, run by Janine Guido. It was Guido who named Libre, declined to have him euthanized, and got him to Dillsburg Veterinary Center.

In bad shape: Libre was emaciated and dehydrated when he came to Dillsburg, suffering from demodectic mange (which is not the contagious type of mange) and secondary skin infections, according to Hall. Speranza Animal Rescue has reported that Libre had ulcers on his eyes and that a number of maggots had to be removed from his open wounds.

He couldn't stand up on his own at first and was given pain medication for the first few days, she said. He remains on antibiotics.

"His skin is looking substantially better," Hall said. "He's sitting up on his own and he seems a little feisty. ... He's getting a little bit of spunk back."

Libre seems fairly comfortable now and no longer needs pain meds, she said, although he's still receiving fluids intravenously.

"As of now he's eating ravenously on his own," Hall said. "He's such a sweetheart. He kind of looks around at everybody, and he seems like he'll be a sweet dog."

In the past couple of days, he's been showing a bit more interest in the world around him, she said.

Dillsburg Veterinary staffers adore Libre and are hoping for a full recovery, Hall said, but it's very possible Libre could suffer permanent eye damage and have difficulty seeing, if he survives.

How to help: For now, Pryor is asking people to pray for the pup, according to Hall.

Dillsburg Veterinary Center is accepting donations to help offset the costs of caring for Libre. To do that, call the clinic at (717) 432-7031 or send a check to them at 8 Tristan Drive, No. 1, Dillsburg, PA 17019.

People also can donate to Speranza Animal Rescue online or on the nonprofit organization's Facebook page. If Libre survives, it will be Speranza Animal Rescue that chooses his adoptive family.

Hall said she started the Change.org petition to have Libre's breeders charged.

"I'd love to get some justice for him," she said.

Meanwhile, Libre continues to capture the hearts of Hall and her co-workers — and the hearts of the public, Hall said. Thousands of concerned people have sent emails and Facebook messages to Dillsburg Veterinary Center, she said.

And nearly a half-million people have viewed one of several Libre videos created by Speranza.

"He's famous and he doesn't even know it," Hall said. "It's pretty awesome to see."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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