"The fleas were literally crawling off her head," Hetherington says. "I've never seen an infestation of fleas like it. Ever."
And her leg was little more than mush.
"You could see that the bone was protruding right through her leg," Hetherington recalls. "God knows how long the poor dog was lying in that shed with that injury." (How she became injured in the first place is still unclear.)
Veterinarians doubted she would even survive the surgery to remove her leg.
But, perhaps a testament to a dog prized for spirit and resilience, Merci did make it.
And, while she will be looking for a real home soon, at the very least, Merci won't meet an anonymous end like so many of her kind have in these parts.
Physically blessed, cursed for life
Sighthounds, also called lurchers in Ireland, aren't actually a specific breed. Instead, the label spans a variety of dogs like greyhounds and whippets and even the towering Irish wolfhounds. What sets them apart from most other dogs is their speed - and a marked propensity to chase just about anything.