ASHLAND, Neb.(KPTM)- Her story started on the side of the road where she was left to die.
"Coco" the dog was found wandering, starving, and abandoned on in Ashland in July 2012.
"She'd been given a death sentence-she didn't deserve to die behind bars," said Coco's owner, Misty Carter.
The Ashland dog pound picked up Coco in July 2012. Misty Carter, a volunteer at the pound, had permanently decided to foster Coco because of her health problems.
Carter said when she took Coco in, a vet told her she wouldn't live for more than a couple of months.
"She needed so much care and attention that a lot of people don't have time for," said Carter.
Last January, Coco had a five-pound tumor hanging from her mammary gland. The surgery was estimated to cost $3,000, until a La Vista veterinarian volunteered to do the surgery for free. "I was in shock, I couldn't believe it," said Carter.
Coco underwent surgery in February and has been recovering ever since. "Such a huge jump from where we were in January to where we are now with her. She's a completely different dog," said Carter.
Coco's tumor may be gone, but she still is on medication for allergies which cause her ears to flare up, she is on a special diet, and has an enlarged heart.
"Every six months we go in and she gets her chest x-rayed to make sure there's no growths, keep an eye on her heart, make sure it's not getting any larger," said Carter.
Carter said veterinarians don't know why Coco's heart is enlarged and that she has to keep a special watch on Coco to make sure she doesn't play too hard.
"Here we are a year and a half later- she's still with us and I wouldn't trade her for anything," said Carter.
Since Fox 42 aired Coco's story in January, $6,000 dollars were donated to the Ashland Dog Pound.
Carter said the money has been used to help save other dogs like Coco. "It helped save another dog that had gotten a hold of a bunch of her medicine and was in danger of stroking out," said Carter.
Coco's previous owners have never come forward. "I think it's animal cruelty, it's neglectful, they should be charged," said Carter.
Carter said she doesn't think about how Coco was treated before she became part of her family. Instead she focuses on Coco's recovery and her well-deserved happiness.