A dog named Queenie was found "beyond emaciated" in a bedroom of a Coram home, deprived of food and water for about three weeks, authorities estimated, even though an open bag of dog food was spotted in the kitchen.
The mastiff was lying on her side, unmoving, behind the closed door of an overheated bedroom Saturday, her nostrils clogged and sealed by crusty mucus, said Robert Misseri, president of the Smithtown-based Guardians of Rescue.
"She kind of looked like she was decomposing but she was alive," Misseri said. "The one good thing about her -- she had a lot of life in her eyes. That was the shocking thing."
The dog's owners, a husband and wife, are in the middle of a divorce, and the wife said she last saw the dog three weeks ago in early February, when she moved out with her son.
When she went to the house on Saturday, she found beer bottles littering the place, Queenie in the bedroom and dog food in the kitchen, rescuers said.
"I cried hysterically," said the owner, who called rescuers after finding Queenie and who asked not to be publicly named. "I'm angry. I'm upset. If I could have, I would have taken her."
Misseri said he saw feces and dried urine in the house, but no sign of food and water bowls.
When rescuers wrapped the dog in a blanket to rush her to a veterinarian, Queenie finally made a sound, Misseri said.
The Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating. SPCA officials declined to talk about the case, but Misseri said they are looking for the husband.
Queenie has been on intravenous fluids at the Grady Animal Hospital in Sayville since she was rescued.
Based on her condition, veterinarian Mark Caporaso thinks she's been neglected for three weeks and said she now is suffering from kidney failure as a result of being deprived of nutrition.
"It was the worst case I ever saw in person," the veterinarian said. "She looked like a skeleton, extremely weak, couldn't get up."
She is a Cane Corso, one of the largest dog breeds, an Italian mastiff that's known for its size and muscle. The breed was used as a watchdog and boar hunter in Italy, where it was first bred.
Queenie, about 8 to 10 years old, should have been 100 pounds, Caporaso said, but she came in at 47 pounds Saturday. After eating, she gained 3 pounds by Monday, he said.
She got up for a stumbling walk four hours after she came in, ate six hours after being given intravenous fluids and wagged her tail 12 hours later, the veterinarian said.
Queenie will require low-protein food because her failing kidneys can't process protein and she might need to be given fluids under the skin regularly, Caporaso said.
"I think we're going to get her through this, but her long-term prognosis is not good because of her kidney disease," he said.
Once she's stable, the mastiff will find a new home with one of her rescuers, who is also a dog trainer, Misseri said.
His nonprofit rescue group will pay for Queenie's medical care and donations have already arrived, Misseri said.
Monday afternoon, Queenie started showing her spirit.
She barked at a man who was visiting the animal hospital and had popped his head into the exam room where Queenie was staying, Caporaso said.
"It was the first time she showed any real enthusiasm," he said.