Norine Hoch knew right away she would adopt the emaciated, shivering puppy that was near death when she rescued it from the parking lot of a veterinary clinic.

That is, if the animal would even survive the ordeal.

Hoch’s wish came true Monday afternoon, when she walked out of the SPCA Serving Erie County with the female pit bull mix puppy and took her to her new home in Amherst.

“She will definitely be spoiled,” Hoch said.

It was about month and a half after she and Breanna Horwood – both EMTs with Rural/Metro Medical Services – spotted the animal left out in freezing temperatures Nov. 28 and rushed it to the SPCA.

Initially named Metro, for the Rural/Metro ambulance crew that found her, the dog now has a new name. She will be called Abby – a name given to her by her new family.

Abby was skin and bones when Hoch and Horwood found her lying on the ground in the parking lot. She weighed only nine pounds. She could not hold up her head and was cold to the touch.

“Her lifeless little eyes were just yelling out for help. It was scary,” Hoch said.

The SPCA staff had to work for hours before they could even get a temperature on her. “She actually had seizures. It was heartbreaking,” said Ronnie Podolefsky, an SPCA board member who served as a foster parent to the dog.

“She’s got spirit and heart to survive all that,” Podolefsky said. “She tripled her weight. Put food in front of her, and she inhales it. ... She’s a very smart little girl.”

Podolefsky would send Hoch pictures of the puppy that reminded her of her other dog, Molly, a three-year-old pit bull.

Her 18-year-old daughter, Katelyn Pietrzyk, said the resemblance is striking.

“They could pass for twins,” said Pietrzyk, who recently moved into her own place last month and took Molly with her.

But Pietrzyk promised to bring Molly back to her mother’s home for play dates.

In addition, Rural/Metro made a $750 donation to the SPCA’s Yelp for Help Fund, which assists injured or ill animals. Donations can be made at