Adrianna Craig was walking her dog around the Smyrna Concord Crossing apartment complex, near Old Concord Road and Plaza Drive, when she saw something lying still in the pine straw.

“I almost didn’t even see him. My dog ran over in that direction, and I just happened to see him there,” she said. “He was just laying there. He looked scared and I didn’t realize how badly hurt he was either.”

Craig, who runs a house cleaning service, said she kept the injured puppy overnight, gave him food and water and turned him over the next day to Elle Heaton, one of her clients.

Heaton said she has a history of animal rescue, so when Craig told her about the badly burned and injured puppy, she immediately offered her help. She said she named the 13-week-old puppy Rue, a French word for “street.”

“He was found on the street,” Heaton said.

After examinations at the vet, Heaton said it seemed someone had repeatedly doused Rue in acid, allowing his skin to heal slightly before dousing him again. She said he was also malnourished and had injuries consistent with being thrown from a moving vehicle.

“Whoever did this to him was quite sadistic,” Heaton said. “Rue has burns of various healing stages. So this person burned him, let him sit for a week, burned him, let him sit for week and burned him.”

She said she didn’t report the incident to Cobb police, because she feared Rue would be taken to a shelter and euthanized.

Heaton, who lives in midtown Atlanta, set up a GoFundMe page on June 5, two days after Rue was found, with a goal to raise $10,000. The fundraiser, which aimed to cover the costs of the pup’s surgeries and other medical treatment, surpassed that mark in a week.

Now Rue’s journey is being followed by animal lovers everywhere — including the governor’s mansion.

On Thursday, Heaton said she received a call from First Lady Marty Kemp, commending her for her efforts in saving Rue and getting him the treatment he needed.

The first lady also gave Heaton a Twitter shout-out.

“Thank you, Elle, for your efforts to help this sweet puppy! The Kemp Family is praying for Rue’s swift and full recovery,” Kemp wrote in a tweet.

Kemp is an outspoken advocate for animal rescue.

Heaton said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming — the GoFundMe page had raised more than $11,500 by Friday afternoon.

But, Heaton said, Rue has a long way to go to recover fully. The pooch has already had to endure multiple surgeries to stitch wounds on his neck and remove burned tissue on his stomach and around his genitals.

He’ll have to stay at a veterinary facility to recover from surgeries through the weekend before having more surgeries, she said.

“It’s just overwhelming,” Heaton said. “But I’m so grateful for all the support so that he can get everything he needs to put this behind him and finally be able to receive love.”

For more information on Rue or to donate to the GoFundMe, visit

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at


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