By: Heather Lang

A little over a year ago, things were much different for a little dog that is now known as Effie.

“When I found her, I have to tell you, I’ve never seen an animal in her condition that was alive,” said Pittsburgh Police Officer Christine Luffey. “She weighed 14 pounds, and I remember picking her up and I felt very uncomfortable because it was like holding a living skeleton.”

A little more than a year later, Officer Luffey and Effie have changed each other’s lives for the better.

“I truly adore her, I really do,” Officer Luffey says of Effie.

Last year, Effie became Pittsburgh’s poster pup for the battle against animal cruelty. The photos of a dog, skin and bones, fighting for her life touched Pittsburgh residents, who then rallied around her.

Wishing her well.

It all started in January of 2016. That’s when Officer Luffey rescued Effie from an apartment in Homewood.

A Good Samaritan, doing work in the building, spotted the dog and decided to report her condition.

“A very good man who was repairing a home in the eastern part of the city of Pittsburgh saw her tied up where she could barely move. He took his cell phone out, he snapped a photo of her, he showed his supervisor, the photo was sent to the Western Pa. Humane Society, and then I got involved,” said Officer Luffey. “I obtained a search warrant and we went to four different places looking for her until we finally found her.”

Effie’s condition was grave and no one thought she would make it through a surgery that she had to have.

“We were able to get her to the shelter. She had to have surgery that she wasn’t expected to survive and then she was in the critical care at a hospital for about a month,” said Officer Luffey.

But Effie is a fighter.

Her road to recovery may not have been easy, but she started slowly gaining weight and becoming a healthy dog again.

Then, in September of last year, Officer Luffey decided to give Effie the forever home she truly deserved.

“I adopted her on Sept. 12 of 2016 and I’ve had her for almost seven months. I truly adore her,” Officer Luffey said.

Effie’s story is the perfect one to tell this month. That’s because April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Month.

For the suffering Effie was put through, her former owner was found guilty of animal cruelty last August. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation, plus fines, and ordered to not care for any animals during the duration of his probation.

That’s what shelters, like Western Pa. Humane Society/Animal Rescue League, do. Fight against animal abuse and find pets good homes where they’ll be loved and not treated like Effie was before she was rescued.

Western Pa. Humane Society/Animal Rescue League’s upcoming event Fashion Tails event is all about promoting adoption of dogs into good homes.

“The dogs that end up in shelters are not second-class citizens or discards as so many people think,” said Ilene Ross, a shelter board member. They are wonderful, wonderful animals and I know that throughout my own lifetime as well as many people I know we have opted to adopt because there is absolutely not an animal that will appreciate you more than one who has ended up in a shelter and then ends up in a loving, appreciative home.”

For more information on the Fashion Tails events, set for May 21, visit:

Stay tuned animal lovers for more Furry Tails! You can follow me on Twitter at @HeatherLang24

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