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TODAY news for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

Animal devotion helps girl recover from abuse

Priscilla Rojo Perez and her puppy Shadow
Priscilla Rojo Perez, a 4 year old from San Bernardino, shown with her new puppy Shadow, a cocker spaniel.
Shadow, a year and a half old black cocker spaniel, held the heart of a little 4-year-old girl who suffered from a sexual assault just a few weeks before Christmas 2005. Through the dog’s love and devotion, Priscilla Rojo Perez, the 4-year-old victim, is recovering from a nightmare of a birthday party.

Police arrested a man suspected of kidnapping Priscilla from a party, raping her and dumping her in a backyard from a trash-ridden alley in early December 2005. Priscilla was taken to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital for observation of wounds from a beating received while kidnapped. While recovering, she received a special visit from her best friend, Shadow.

Shadow and Priscilla were neighbors in their San Bernardino neighborhood. The neighbors who owned Shadow gave him to Priscilla as an early Christmas gift while she was recuperating at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and brought him by to visit her.

“I’m excited,” Priscilla’s mother, Lorena Perez said at the visit. “Shadow is everything for her, they are for each other. I’ve never seen anything like this. If my baby sleeps, Shadow sleeps.

“My baby would go to the neighbors and Shadow would be right behind her. The dog and my baby are so close.”

Ms. Perez was surprised to find out that the neighbors were giving the dog to her daughter. It was the best news she had received all week.

“They found her in a shed behind a house where the party was held,” she remembered. “But now she’s happy, I can just see it. She’s just happy. Shadow doesn’t even sleep at his place. He waits for her at our front door.”

Shadow and Priscilla were united together at last when she went home from the hospital. In a bizarre and tragic incident, Shadow ingested some poisonous material and died not long after.

Upon hearing the sad news, Children’s Hospital chaplain Saul Silva orchestrated a fundraising drive to get Priscilla a new dog. In February 2006, Priscilla got her new dog, a white cocker spaniel, whom she also named Shadow.

TODAY news for Thursday, March 9, 2006