Gus, the injured dog we heard about just in time…

Gus, when we found him, was obviously in discomfort, and with the vets in the air, we had no other option but to take him with us.The clinics were finished.

Most of the veterinarian team was already at the airport, waiting to fly out. The crates were loaded back up with equipment and supplies and piled at the garage door as we repacked the vans.

We had seen more than 150 animals during three days of clinics, spaying or neutering and vaccinating 61 of them, vaccinating and/or deworming the rest.

Apolla, Hunter and Puppy were some of the new dogs we helped last week and as always, it’s great to see those who come back year after year like Bruno, Baby Girl and Abby. Even with the harsh winter, most of the dogs looked fantastic. Those who seemed like they might benefit from a little extra help received a boost either from the dewormer (which kills the internal parasites and allows the dogs to keep all the nutrients for themselves) or from a bit more dinner in their bowls.

Denise, Jennifer, and I were the only ones left when a pickup truck from the fire department pulled up to us asking if someone could come and confirm a dead dog. Vet tech Denise climbed in and off she went to assess the situation.

Back within five minutes, Denise confirmed the best possible outcome — while the young yellow lab was found lying on his side, bleeding, and whimpering, he was, in fact, alive.

For the time being.

When Denise touched each foot, he moved it, demonstrating that he wasn’t suffering extensive spinal or nerve damage. We quickly rearranged one of our vans and went back to the site where people had gathered on their porch to watch. When Denise palpated him, he was obviously in discomfort, and with the vets in the air, we had no other option but to take him with us.

We gently slid a sheet under him while someone found a piece of wood that we could use as a stretcher. No one knew the dog’s name or where the owner lived but everyone who had gathered wanted the same thing — for him to get help.

Getting hit by a car is one of the consequences of being a free roaming dog. We’re pretty sure that’s what happened to this young guy. The whole right side of his body was in agony as he lay in the back of the van on a pile of cozy blankets, whimpering and paddling his feet even with the pain meds that Denise administered. But his gums were pink by the time we were leaving town and the pain meds had kicked in by the time we were halfway along the dirt road. One hour down, 18 to go.

Dogs are amazingly stoic. Having had the opportunity to work with them in many different places, I’m always humbled by what they can suffer and how they manage to persevere.

Gus, as we’ve called him, is on his way to getting the care he needs to be back up and running….

…though not in front of cars this time!

--JH

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