The homeowners think their dog was hit with a wooden board that was found lying on the kitchen floor with blood all over it.
Officials said thieves broke into a home in the 800 block of Bradwell in southeast Houston Tuesday afternoon while no one was home.
The suspects smashed the sliding glass door, and once inside they ransacked the master bedroom, stole jewelry and thousands of dollars in cash.
The homeowner, Jeane Putnam, had been working all summer and saving money so she could take a trip home to Brazil. Every week she would put a little money into an envelope, but the thieves found it.
The family said the worst part of the break-in was what happened to their beloved dog, Tabby. The 12-year-old Chow mix was beaten so badly she was barely able to walk.
"She has fractures all around her eye," said Tom Putnam, the homeowner. "Her sinus is caved in."
Putnam said the next three days are touch and go and that Tabby may lose her eye. The Putnams believe she was hit with a wooden board that they found covered with blood and lying on the kitchen floor.
The family also thinks Tabby was sprayed in the face with wasp killer because they found an empty can by the board.
Tabby was likely acting as a guard dog trying to protect her home when the strangers broke in.
"She wouldn't back down," said Putnam. "She's old and arthritic and she didn't have a good fighting chance."
The Putnams have two other dogs who were home when the burglary happened. Two small Yorkies, who were so traumatized they spent the night hiding in a bookcase.
The thieves were able to get into the Putnam's backyard through an unlocked side gate. They said the police told them crimes of opportunity are not uncommon in the neighborhood.
"It's very random," Putnam said. "They're just doing it at random. It's not like they have specific targets in mind. It's random."
The Putnams told Local 2 a neighbor saw three men leaving the house in an older model silver car, but that's the only information they have on possible suspects.
Donations are being collected to help with Tabby's recovery. Click here for more information.