Cemetery dog has forever home as deer survives recent attack - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Cemetery dog has forever home as deer survives recent attack

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The story grabbed international headlines. A motherless doe and a stray dog bonded amid the tombstones at a Kansas City cemetery.

But with winter approaching, a Kansas City shelter took the dog away from Ella the deer, breaking some hearts.

Several months have passed, and much has changed in both the animal's lives. KCTV5 contacted cemetery officials and Wayside Waif leaders this week to get an update on both.

Ella recently survived an attack by dogs while the dog who is now named Moxie just got a forever home.

When the no-kill shelter took the dog in, the shar pei mix had the name Mattie.

"She was extremely shy, unsocial and fearful of people," Wayside Waifs spokeswoman Jennie Rinas said.

She received medical treatment. In time, she went to a loving foster home that had several other dogs. Mattie was a good girl who had her favorite chair, loved to get treats and run about the backyard with her other furry friends.

"Her foster family provided the special care, socialization and positive reinforcement she desperately needed in a home environment," she said. "It took three months to prepare Mattie for adoption."

Foster care is so important in helping socialize and prepare special dogs for adoption by a forever family. The family who took in the cemetery dog deserves special thanks for their tireless commitment to her rehabilitation, Rinas said.

Wayside Waifs chose for the dog a compassionate couple who have experience working with animals rescued from difficult circumstances. The couple renamed the dog Moxie.

"They say Moxie is happy and thriving in her new home, which includes her best friend, a German pointer mix named Frannie, a puppy mill survivor that was also adopted from Wayside Waifs a year and a half ago," Rinas said.

Ella still roams the 43-acre cemetery off Elmwood. She had a grand time bounding through the huge snow drifts last month.

While Ella and Moxie became fast friends, Ella had a scary situation with some stray dogs recently. A woman who lives near the cemetery wrote KCTV5 to say she was quite concerned about Ella because she had been attacked last week and suffered cuts and scrapes. Ella was missing part of the fur, she wrote.

The woman thanked police officers who she said stopped traffic on Truman Road so that Ella could get safely back to the cemetery that she fled from because of the pursuing dogs. Truman Road is where her mother died after she was struck by a vehicle, leaving Ella an orphan.

Elmwood Cemetery trustee Bruce Mathews went to the cemetery Wednesday night to check on Ella. He said she was as frisky as usual but clearly had been a tussle.

She suffered no broken bones and isn't limping. Experts say she will recover, and Mathews added she'll hopefully be more wary and realize not all are as friendly to her as Moxie was.

"She is not a pet. She is a wild animal," Mathews said. "But she is family and everyone loves her company. She has taught us all so much."

And Mathews hopes that some day Moxie will return for a visit to her old friends.

"We want her family to know they are welcome to bring her for a visit," he said.

Ella is docile enough that cemetery officials and experts don't think she would survive in the wild. While Ella will allow you to pet her, cemetery officials discourage that because, after all, she isn't a household pet.

Still, neighbors, police who patrol the cemetery and cemetery officials keep an eye out on her. And she's become almost a tourist attraction at the cemetery.

When weddings are held in the beautiful stone chapel on the property, Ella will come up to the door to "witness" the events. As funeral parties are making their way to grave sites, Ella will clomp alongside mourners.

The bigger the crowd the better, Mathews said with a chuckle.

"We will enjoy her company as long as she is here," Mathew said. "She brings a lot of life to the cemetery. People just love her. We have to remind ourselves that she is a wild animal. She is a sweetheart."

To adopt or foster a Wayside Waifs dog, click here.

To see the original YouTube video made by a Wayside Waifs volunteer who went to the dog's foster home, click here.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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