This is a horrible story, but it is one of my favorites because it has a very happy ending. It is a story of a sweet, forgiving, beautiful boy named Smokey with an old soul and a brave heart…
Smokey was found as a stray when he was about 3 months old, and was taken to the local shelter. He had extensive chemical burns over his entire back… from the back of his neck all the way past his ribs. Treatment of the wounds would require a lot of work and months of healing, so he was scheduled to be euthanized. That was when a rescue organization from San Diego got involved and saved his life! He was pulled from the shelter and taken in to a veterinary hospital to be evaluated right away.
His wounds were large and deep, but his body had already started to try to heal itself and there was some healthy tissue present in the middle of the burns. Smokey was hospitalized for weeks with daily bandage changes, antibiotics, and pain medications. He was amazingly cooperative through it all—even when it hurt! He was always smiling and ready to get attention in whatever form it was given. His gentleness was immediately apparent, and he won all of his caretakers over… especially me!
While in the hospital, he was also treated for his severe intestinal parasite infestation. Parasites are very common in puppies—which is why all puppies are dewormed—but those with an unhealthy background tend to have large numbers of multiple types of parasites. Smokey had a huge parasite burden, in addition to his severe wounds.
Eventually Smokey was discharged from the hospital, and went into foster care with his rescuer. Bandage changes continued, and his wounds healed well. There was one small area on his neck where the skin had healed abnormally and that would require surgical correction. The rest of his wounds had contracted to the point where the surgery could be a relatively minor procedure. The damaged tissue was surgically removed and he was neutered at the same time. As always, he was a very tolerant patient!
Smokey was adopted by his rescuer (who could resist?!), and he lives a happy and fulfilling life in a home with other rescue dogs. He passed his basic obedience class and Canine Good Citizenship course with flying colors, and is in training to become a certified therapy dog! He is proof of the strength and resiliency, as well as the great capacity for forgiveness, that our animal friends possess.
The infuriating addendum to this story is that 3 months later, another Pit Bull puppy was found in the same area with the same type of burns on his back. The same rescuer stepped in, immediately got him the necessary treatment and surgery, and found him a forever home! Despite lots of effort and even a reward offered, the full story of what happened to these poor puppies remains a mystery. They suffered at the hands of a cruel person, but thankfully, dogs live in the moment and now these two know only LOVE!
Smokey’s story has all of the elements of a classic tale—the heartbreaking and exasperating EVIL of humanity; the GOODNESS of all of the wonderful animal rescuers making the world better everyday, one creature at a time; and most importantly—the HEROES… Mr. Smokey with his amazing spirit, and all of the other animals who rise above their lives into superstar status! I was so lucky to have met Smokey and he will forever be one of the best patients I ever had!
You can follow Smokey the Pit Bull on Facebook—it is fabulous to see how much he is loving life!