Updated: Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 6:50 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 11:38 AM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The puppy that stole hearts across western New York is improving. Phoenix, a five-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, is recovering from burns after being set on fire in October.
His second surgery was just over a week ago Monday and he has taken to the latest grafts on his leg. Additional grafts are going to be needed and he is also suffering from a bone infection in that same leg. If he continues to take to the grafts from his abdomen and the infection heals, his leg will be saved.
His demeanor has changed for the better as well. He is now acting like a puppy should - full of energy.
PHOTO GALLERY | See pictures of a playful Phoenix here
Surgery is planned for Thursday for grafts additional to his lower belly. Doctors say it is still going to be some time before Phoenix can be adopted because of the additional surgeries. But hospital employees say that Phoenix will be a normal dog and able to be home by himself for people with normal works schedules.
"He has gotten a lot more playful and puppyish because he just feels better and I think that a lot of the pain from the burns is gone at this point. He is feeling a lot better, just wants to get out and play and run around even though we have to reign him in because he still has the graft surgery so he has to stay still," explained Dr. Rebecca Wagner, a senior veterinarian at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital.
He also has some strength in his back legs, and is able to pull while playing.
"He barks at other dogs, he wants to play with his toys and run around and he excepts a lot of attention from basically anybody who wants to give it to him. He will try to dive out of the cage to get the attention if we let him. He is just a personal dog and loves everybody," Dr. Wagner saud.
Unfortunately, 60 percent of his ears had to be amputated and will not grow back. But many of his burn scars are re-growing hair.
"There is actually hair growing back where I didn't think it was going to grow back before on top of his head, around his eyes. There is still a question of his hair on his neck, there is a line. I don't think that is going to have growth but the surrounding hair will grow and that may cover it up," said Dr. Wagner.
Nineteen-year-old Adell Zeigler and 17-year-old Diondre Brown have been charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals. Zeigler is still being held at Erie County Holding Center without bail. The latest court date was postponed and has not been rescheduled.