Scooter, the survivor of a gun shot wound to the head, is one very happy and very lucky dog.

An oblong, pink scar is visible above his left eye. Scooter's owner, Eric Lugar, has been charged with shooting the dog.

Now rescued, credited to an anonymous tip and thorough police work, Scooter is lively and seemingly content.

Scooter was brought to the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County in Thomaston April 16 after receiving treatment from a South Thomaston veterinarian.

Shelter Manager Theresa Gargan said Scooter is fortunate the bullet path went through his palate, tongue and jaw without striking anything that would have instantly killed him.

The shelter is waiting for the dog to be legally turned over to them so they can begin the process of finding him a new home and several people have already inquired about adopting him, said Gargan.

"He is super sweet and to think somebody would hurt him — he is a great dog," she said.

Scooter's owners, Lugar of St. George and Holly J. Thibodeau of Waldoboro have both been charged with animal cruelty.

Sgt. John Palmer of the Knox County Sheriff's Office responded to an animal welfare complaint earlier this month after a concerned citizen said Lugar shot his own dog in the head at his residence when it defecated in the house.

The caller described the dog as a young mutt and said Lugar had bragged about the shooting.

When Palmer and Deputy Paul Pinkham, along with the town's animal control officer Michael Mathiau, went to Lugar's home on Wallston Road, they saw the dog had injuries to the top of its head above the left eye, and blood oozing from its muzzle. The exit wound, according to the police report, was in the lower jaw.

Lugar faces two counts — for injuring the dog, and then not seeking medical attention for the animal, and Thibodeau faces one count for also neglecting to take Scooter to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian said Scooter was absolutely in pain and suffering during the days he was shot and without aid, said court documents.

Lugar told police he did not shoot the dog, but found his pet injured after returning home from a party.

Lugar and Thibodeau adopted Scooter from the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in January, said Shelter Manager Betsy Pratt.

"Their references checked out very well," she said.

Scooter, who was called Dominic at the shelter, came in as a stray. He is about one year old, Pratt said.

Zach Knight, a volunteer at the Knox County shelter, takes Scooter out in the mornings to the run, an outdoor pen behind the shelter building.

"He is a great dog," he said as Scooter twisted around his feet with verve.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.