Woman's best friend up for adoption

June 17, 2009 (CHICAGO) Buttons has been at the shelter for five weeks. Workers do not know his former owner, but do know he or she inflicted terrible pain on Buttons. The young dog's muzzle has a permanent scar.

"Someone wrapped him in wire or rope or rubber bands for along enough period to cause damage. ..... there's a deep scar," said Karen Okura, Anti-Cruelty Society manger of behavior.

Perhaps the abuse was an attempt to prevent barking. When the skinny mutt -- a deskbound, terrier, Chihuahua mix -- arrived at the shelter in mid-May, his appearance shocked even the veteran staff.

"The first reaction was, 'Oh, poor baby. How could somebody do this to a dog?' And then the second reaction was, 'How can we (help)? What kind of emotional damage does he have from this?' And once we assess that, how can we help him to be O.K. with it and be a better dog?" said Okura.

The staff worked with Buttons several times a day trying to convince him that people aren't really all that bad. The hard work has paid off and now this very active and very intelligent dog is slowly becoming a pet.

"We're kind of surprised that despite the horrific abuse he's had that he can learn to trust people. He does seem to do better with women than with men," said Okura.

So chances are his abusive owner was a man, which means his future will probably be as woman's best friend.

"He has taught us a lot about-- get over it. I've had a bad life but it's going to be a good future. We're trying to focus not so much on his abuse but where we can bring him from here."

Buttons will be up for adoption soon. He needs a very active woman to care for him.

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