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Rescued pup Tatum finally feeling up to playing

Tatum, a four-month-old Great Dane mix, was found in a kennel near Seneca and Maple recently and was near death.
Tatum, a four-month-old Great Dane mix, was found in a kennel near Seneca and Maple recently and was near death. The Wichita Eagle

This an update on Tatum, the starved but rescued Wichita puppy dog who has touched hearts from Maine to California.

With food and love, she’s noticeably improving, Diana Frye said Friday from Woody’s Automotive at 25th and Amidon, where Tatum spends her days before going home each night with Frye or shop owner Pam Southers.

Diana Frye has rescued several dogs from homelessness and bad owners, but she says she's never seen a dog in as bad of shape as Tatum, a 4-month-old Great Dane mix that was found in a kennel in an alley near Seneca and Maple. Frye has been nursing

Tatum, a 4-month-old Great Dane mix, now weighs about 8 pounds more than she did when Frye rescued her. On Aug. 22, a friend found the pup barely alive and trapped in a feces-filled, discarded dog crate in an alley near Seneca and Maple.

The pup was so emaciated, every bone showed. Frye has been gradually feeding Tatum more, and the pup is showing more energy.

Frye said she could tell a big difference on Friday.

“She wants to actually run and play now, be a puppy. This is the first day she’s actually picked up a toy,” a cloth-covered one in the shape of an elongated dachshund with a squeaker inside. “She wants to play tug of war with it. She’s eating full bowls of food today.”

Her bones still show but not as much as was painfully clear before, Frye said. “It’s filling in,” especially around her neck.

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The story of Tatum – Frye believes that the pup should be a poster child for animal abuse – has spread. Frye has gotten text messages from animal lovers in California, Florida, Las Vegas, Mississippi and Maine. “Everybody is, ‘Thank you for taking care of this baby.’”

“I’ve had a thousand people want to adopt her,” Frye said Friday.

But Frye says the beloved pup will remain with her and Southers. “She’ll be our shop dog here.”

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