There are few happy endings for dogs and cats who are the subjects of human cruelty. Luckily for a then six week-old puppy left to die in the streets of Detroit, his hero came in the person of an Army veteran who learned about his story and felt compelled to save him.
Our partners at the Michigan Humane Society received a call about a dog who had possibly been hit by a car. Upon examination, it was determined that the young Shepherd mix had been shot with a BB gun.
The dog’s x-rays revealed a BB lodged next to the his spine, rendering one of his hind legs completely useless. Unable to save it, the shelter’s veterinary team amputated the leg. However, the young dog – named Forrest by the shelter staff – was not yet out of the woods.
During post-surgical recovery, Forrest stopped breathing and his heart stopped.
Forrest was resuscitated by the veterinary team at the Michigan Humane Society, but he emerged from the near-death experience with almost total vision loss. He spent several weeks recovering in a foster home before being made available for adoption.
Out of the woods, Forrest finds his hero
Shawn served for more than 10 years in the Army, separating from service as Captain. Like thousands of others in the community, she learned about Forrest in the news and her heart ached. She was not only a veteran, but a practicing veterinarian who has – and has had – other special needs companion pets. Shawn felt called to save Forrest, and give him the life that he deserved. (Click here, or the image above, to see the video).
“If I couldn’t get him,” Shawn says, “I would be worrying about him for the rest of my life.”
The shelter staff told Shawn about their partnership with Pets for Patriots while she was making arrangements to adopt the adorable, blind, three-legged dog. Her application to our companion pet adoption program for veterans was expedited and, just days before Valentines’ Day, Shawn brought her new love home.
A pint-sized gladiator starts his new life
The young puppy’s life has been off to an uneasy start, but little Forrest has proven to be a fighter. Shawn decided that her new charge needed a name that better reflected his incredible fortitude.
Forrest has been renamed Crixus, after a Gallic gladiator and military leader in the War of Spartacus.
We’re grateful to Shawn for her service to our country and for her being a hero to a special needs pet who experienced such a tragic start in life. And our thanks as well to the Michigan Humane Society for their extraordinary work rescuing and rehabilitating dogs and cats who are abandoned, abused and unwanted, and giving them a second chance at life.