But three weeks ago, the outlook was much more grim for the sweet-natured canine, nicknamed "Little Brown Dog" by the veterinarians and students who took her in.
The Knoxville Police Department's Animal Control Unit brought the young adult dog in Nov. 3, shortly after arresting 45-year-old Jimmy Lovell of Pilkay Road. Authorities allege that Lovell dragged the dog for several miles on Liberty Street behind a pickup truck.
"Little Brown Dog" arrived in pain, her chest and all four paw pads badly burned. Some wounds were so deep her bones and joints were actually ground down.
After the dog healed from most of her wounds, Sura performed skin graft surgery to her paws Thursday.
"There's all different kinds of skin grafts that you can take," Sura said. "And we took full-thickness grafts. And the reason for that is because they should grow hair normally, to give her the most cosmetic outcome. ... But also this gives the firmest healing. So it's not going to be fragile."
That's the medical side of the case.
There's also the human-dog bond and the special temperament of "Little Brown Dog," or LBD, as the dog's nickname has evolved, UT staffers said.
Sura, along with UT veterinary hospital resident Dr. Rebecca Hodshon and veterinary student Lauren Donovan, changed LBD's bandages Wednesday.
They put her paws in turkey-decorated casts so she could celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in style. Over the four-day break, she will be fostered at the home of one of the doctors at the hospital.
Sura is happy with how fast LBD has recovered.
"I am pleased that we are here now, rather than months from now," Sura said of the skin graft procedure. "Because these either go really well, or they're a disaster. So I'm happy that they went really well."
LBD's left front paw has healed so well that it no longer has to be bandaged. And Sura was pleased to "downsize" from four bandages to three Wednesday.
Hodshon said she has learned a lot while working with "Little Brown Dog."
"It's amazing," she said. "I've never seen a case from very start to finish of contaminated, fresh wounds to them being completely healed and closed. So watching all the stages of wound healing actually happen is pretty amazing. Especially because she's done it so quickly.
"And she's wonderful. She's a sweetie. It's amazing in itself that she has so much trust in everyone."
Hodshon is surprised that LDB has not had trouble trusting humans after the Nov. 3 incident.
"I saw her the night that she came in," Hodshon said. "And she has these horrible wounds all over her. You'd go up to the cage, and she comes to you. Wants to be held, even though she's been through this horrible ordeal. She's a really special dog. ... Even in horrible pain, with these horrible wounds, she still has the trust."
Unfortunately, "Little Brown Dog" is not alone. This year, the Young-Williams Animal Center has reported 35 cases of neglect or misdemeanor cruelty, said Xan Rawls, director of shelter operations.
LBD, though, is a bit of a rock star.
A fund was set up for her care. After covering LBD's current expenses and spaying, some of the almost $13,000 donated to that fund will go toward an animal abuse education program.
LBD "is the most famous dog in the hospital," said Sandra Harbison, a College of Veterinary Medicine spokeswoman.
Kristen Letsinger may be reached at 865-342-6432.