Warning: some stories have sad parts and this is one of them. Please preview this before sharing it with your children. We are sensitive about animal welfare, as we know many of you are also. We avoid graphic details as much as possible, but this story does have some graphic aspects and gross photos. We do, however, promise a happy ending for Bob. . .
Today, we met "Bob" -- a sweet little mixed breed puppy who was the victim of a tragic crime. Bob is a pretty tan and white short haired pup who is about 10 weeks old and is expected to grow to about 30 pounds or so in size. Someone (a monster or a fool) had placed a plastic cable tie and a piece of copper wire tightly around the base of Bob's tail in a cruel and misguided attempt to dock* (shorten for cosmetic reasons) his tail. We expect him to fully recover from his injury in a couple weeks and we will place him in our Adoption Program once he is well on his way to recovery.
Bob was found wandering a Morgantown neighborhood on 3/14/05. The couple who found him took him into their home and cleaned him up as best they could and then called us the next day. They had bathed him but the terrible smell from the rotting flesh of his mutilated tail was overpowering. They dropped Bob off for Dr. Zucker to examine right away.
Our nurses cleaned Bob up and Dr. Zucker examined him. What we found was tragic. The entire length of Bob's tail below the cable tie was decomposing and oozing pus through the skin. It was very upsetting to see such an innocent puppy suffering so needlessly.
Since the couple who rescued Bob could not afford his needed care and since we knew a young and otherwise healthy puppy like Bob would have a great chance at a happy life through adoption, we offered to take ownership of Bob and give him appropriate care (donated by Dr. Zucker & Animal Medical Center through our Needy Pet Fund) and then place him in our Adoption Program after he recovered. His rescuers agreed and so Bob came to be one more AMC puppy with a fresh chance for a good life. . .
Dr. Zucker performed surgery immediately, removing the infected and rotting portion of his tail and prescribing antibiotics and pain relief medications to help him heal and to keep him comfortable. Bandaging his surgical site was tricky because of the short amount of surviving tail. Dr. Zucker had to wind bandaging material around both of his little hind legs to secure the bandage in a way that would stay clean and not interfere with his ability to go to the bathroom. Little Bob had quite the bandage job!
Our nurse, Brooke, gave little Bob his AMC puppy name so the staff can have something more personal to call him than just "the puppy". While we all can't help getting attached to him while we are caring for him, we do look forward to the day when his new family gives him a permanent name of his own. But, for now, we've got "Bob".
Of course, we reported the animal cruelty to the sheriff's office and we will do all we can to help them in their efforts to track down the person who did this terrible deed. Every staff member at the hospital today was touched by Bob's tragic little story and infuriated that someone could be so cruel to an innocent puppy. We are all gratified that perhaps this tragic event in Bob's life will lead him to a better home with a loving family.
* Docking is an unnecessary but unfortunately common surgery performed in the early days of some puppies lives to remove most of their tail for cosmetic reasons. Veterinary groups in the United States and around the world are moving away from performing these types of unnecessary surgeries. Animal Medical Center does not endorse or perform cosmetic surgeries such as tail docking.
Today, Bob seems comfortable and happy. He is enjoying exploring the hospital. He spends a lot of time wandering around the treatment area and socializing with the staff when they are not busy with other patients.
We were able to remove Bob's bandages and his surgical site looks good. Without his bandages, Bob looks like a normal happy puppy with an unfortunately short tail! Dr. Zucker reports that Bob is doing well and we are optimistic that he will have a complete recovery. His antibiotics and pain medications are working well. We are all looking forward to getting him really cleaned up with a nice bath once he has had a few more days to stabilize and heal.
Bob is doing great! His short little tail is healing beautifully and Dr. Zucker expects to take out his sutures this weekend. Bob is still finishing his antibiotics to help him completely fight off his infection. He no longer needs pain medication. Bob has been bathed, dewormed and has had his initial vaccines. Bob is a delight to have around the hospital.
Today, the Mon County sherriff's deputy in charge of animal cruelty cases came out to the hospital to collect all the records and photographs we had prepared for him. He also interviewed our staff about Bob's case. He promised us he will investigate the case and we will continue to do all we can to help him find the person who hurt Bob and prevent them from hurting any other innocent animals.
Bob is having a great time around the hospital these days. When things are quiet, he loves to trot around the treatment room and go visiting up in reception. He loves to play outside, especially when we're able to let him off his leash. He likes other animals and is friendly with Dr. Zucker's dogs and other animals around the hospital.
Dr. Zucker reports that Bob's tail is healing very well. His stitches were removed on Monday and the only remaining evidence of his injury is a small scab at the tip of his little tail! Dr. Zucker wants to wait until the scab falls off (a couple more days) before offering him for adoption because it is not uncommon for there to be a complication with the healing that could require additional care before he is ready to go to a family and we like to make sure that the injury is completely healed before offering him for adoption.
Dr. Zucker expects the healing to be complete in the next few days and to have him available for adoption next week! Even the hair on Bob's tail is growing in and he should have a handsome, if a bit short, little tail.
Today, Bob acquired a sporty Clifford The Big Red Dog bandana. He looks mighty cute! Bob is a smart and very active little puppy. Our nurses have been working (playing!) with him on some basic obedience and he has already mastered the "Sit" command!
Staff members take Bob out on potty breaks on a leash frequently to help him learn to potty outside and to enjoy leash walking. He is doing a great job with beginning potty training -- he pees outside in the grass right away. He loves walking outside but sometimes he thinks he's taking us on a walk -- taking the leash in his teeth and wanting to play tug. Bob's a sweet and active puppy and will make someone a wonderful dog.
Bob spent some time (a few minutes at a time) in the Adoptive Pets cage in the reception area today so he would get used to spending time up there before he begins spending more time there next week once he is officially available for adoption. He barked and whined a little at first -- complaining about the confinement and looking for attention. But, he did quiet down pretty quickly and then accepted his new situation. He loves toys and treats and loves to chew, so we make sure he has a nice chew treat in his little cage when he is confined.
Bob has had a great week. He healed completely, finished his puppy series of deworming and immunizations and twice had some of his favorite nurses take him to the park to play with other dogs. This afternoon we had four children's tour groups (of nearly 40 children altogether!) come through the hospital and shower Bob with attention.
Best of all for Bob. . .on Tuesday, Dr. Zucker released him from quarantine and made him available for adoption. Lucky Bob had a wonderful AMC client eager to adopt him right away. Our Nursing Manager, Brooke, and Dr. Zucker approved the adoption and Bob went home today! It makes us all a bit weepy to see him go, but it's what we all hoped for him -- a loving life-long home. We are super happy that his adoptive family is an AMC client so we are assured of seeing him regularly. Good luck, Bob. We miss you already.