Phoenix, the puppy, is rising.
The 5-month-old Jack Russell terrier who was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire had to have much of both his ears amputated.
He has a bone infection in one leg, which he may lose, and he’s facing surgery to graft new skin on his belly.
But on Tuesday, the little dog wagged his tail, which poked out of the striped baby clothes put on him to cover his wounds, and whimpered sweetly before a bank of TV cameras.
“He’s become very spoiled,” said Judy Bunge, a veterinary technician who has been helping care for the pup.
The little dog has come a long way since firefighters found him ablaze Oct. 29 in the 200 block of Herman Street. He suffered third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. Two teenagers have been charged with felony animal cruelty.
The dog has since survived two rounds of surgery and will have more Thursday.
He’s doing remarkably well, said Rebecca Wagner, senior veterinarian at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital, where Phoenix is recuperating.
The dog, named for the mythical creature born of fire, seemed to start feeling better four or five days ago, she said.
“He has gotten, obviously, a lot better, more playful,” Wagner said. “Puppylike.”
He has also started teething, and Tuesday he happily gnawed on a plush lion toy, drawing coos from reporters who came to visit.
Well more than 100 people, some from around the world, have inquired about adopting the dog, even though it may be months before he’s well enough to go home with a new family.
Donations of money and doggie toys have been pouring in to the Friends of the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, which is handling the dog’s care.