Associated Press Rescued canine is Belgian sheep dog

BOZEMAN (AP) - Hope, the dog who was shot and left for dead but rebounded with veterinary care, may not be a mutt, after all.

"Hope's a Belgian sheep dog," said Cara Greger, the trainer who will take care of her for at least three weeks. "After 20 years of raising Belgian sheep dogs, I'd bet my life on it."

About six weeks ago, the black pooch widely considered a mutt was shot between the eyes by her owner and left to die. When a woman walking her dog at a fishing access site near Bozeman found Hope, she was too weak to stand, but wagged her shaggy tail.

The dog received local veterinary care, then was transported to the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, Wash.

Dog enthusiasts in the United States, Canada and Europe have donated at least $14,000 for her care.

On Wednesday, Hope played with several of the 26 dogs at Greger's home on Bozeman Pass. The gunshot wound left Hope blind in one eye and deaf, and she tilts her head to one side. But the impairments don't seem to hold her back.

At Greger's place, she tugged on a rope toy with three Belgian sheep dogs, all of which look like her.

"If you're looking for a soul mate … a Belgian could be right for you," Greger said. "They're intelligent, emotional, not a back-yard dog. They're a dog that needs to be part of your life."

She said that if Hope did not receive enough attention from her previous owner, or was in confined spaces, she might not have behaved. In September, authorities issued two citations because Hope was running loose.

Her former owner, Andrew Davis Gage, has been convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the shooting. He paid a $200 fine and $1,195 for care provided by a Bozeman-area veterinary clinic.

Greger expects Hope to be placed with a family, and said free training will be provided after the dog has a permanent home.

Deciding on a home is "a lot like running a dating service," she said. "We're going to try to make a love match."

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