OAKLAND — A dog found abandoned in a sweltering hot apartment is slowly being nursed back to health at a North Jersey animal shelter.

The dog, which the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge is calling "Phoenix," has been taken to the Oradell Animal Hospital, where she has received treatment for almost a week. The animal refuge has been updating followers of its Facebook page on Phoenix's progress, which has ranged from a much-needed bath to being able to lift her head.

Phoenix's story started on Sept. 5 when the refuge received a call from Paterson Animal Control about a "horribly emaciated dog who was found abandoned in an apartment, left without food, water, or even relief from this extreme heat." By that night, the pup had gotten a bath and was "no longer caked in her own waste."

After getting clean, Phoenix was started on IV fluids and medications to help improve her condition.

"There is no telling what will happen, as her body has been pushed to its limits. We have no idea how she was able to survive," a post by the refuge said. "What we do know, is that she is safe. She is in kind hands, and has love, and good care for probably the first time in her life."

Two days after the original posts, the shelter shared a video of Phoenix to dispel a rumor that she had died. The shelter said she was getting used to frequent feedings and "getting more and more used to the idea that people can be friends."

Three days after she was rescued, the shelter staffers said they finally saw Phoenix lift her head, and also saw some of her wounds show signs of recovery. They also could see Phoenix show more trust in the people there to help her.

In the most recent update on Sunday night the refuge said Phoenix was still making progress, but that there were other equally important steps she was making.

"Rest is important... and just watching this beautiful girl sleep peacefully, with food in her belly, under a warm blanket, surrounded by people who love her, is still a good thing," the post said.

As care for Phoenix continues the refuge is seeking donations to its Betty Lou Fund, which is used for medical expenses that can be incurred during the care of the animals they help.

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