MALONE — Severe animal cruelty has been counteracted by an outpouring of human compassion for an abused puppy.
Barkley, a 10-month-old German shepherd, had his back legs broken and his growth progress interrupted when a village resident allegedly beat the dog out of revenge.
On Wednesday, the puppy underwent the first of two operations at the Adirondack Park Pet Hospital in Saranac Lake.
Veterinarian Dr. Stu Stevens, who also has a practice at the Animal Clinic in Malone, performed the surgery.
Barkley’s rescue began through a citizen’s complaint to the Malone Village Police Department, which got in touch with the North Country Animal Shelter to pick him up.
“We could tell he was severely injured, but we didn’t know to what extent,” said Shirley Morton, the shelter’s director.
Stevens’s examination and X-rays found broken tibia and fibula “and also on one leg the growth plate was cracked,” Morton said. “We knew he needed extensive surgery, but we didn’t have any money.
“We were all crying and saying, ‘What are we going to do? How can we make this happen?’”
HAD TO TRY
At the same time, Stevens wasn’t sure an operation would be successful since there was so much damage to Barkley’s legs.
But after he thought about it overnight, the veterinarian told Morton and her volunteers he would give it a try.
It would cost about $2,000 for the surgery, bloodwork, X-rays, vitamins and aftercare that Barkley would need.
Morton was feeling badly because the shelter had only recently raised $820 through a bottle drive to pay for amputation surgery for another dog in its care. Bailey, a chocolate Labrador retriever, is recovering well and will be available for adoption in about a month.
“We were saying, ‘How do we ask anyone for funds this time when the people have already been so generous?’” Morton said. “But then I thought, the least we can do is try.”
So she went to the shelter’s Facebook page and posted pictures of Barkley, a few paragraphs about what happened to him and his need for surgery.
“One girl I know in Plattsburgh picked up on it, and she got in touch with someone, and it went from there,” Morton said. “All I was thinking was, ‘If we could just get 20 people to give $100, that would be enough.’”
Instead, the shelter’s Paypal account quickly collected more than $1,500 from supporters, and others sent donations in care of Stevens.
“In no time, I mean, it didn’t take 24 hours before we had enough to pay for Barkley,” Morton said. “It was just so amazing what can happen when people come together.”
The day before surgery, Barkley was accepting air kisses and plenty of affection from volunteers and strangers visiting the shelter in search of a pet to adopt.
He scurried around the best he could on the floor but yelped in pain when his excitement caused him to put too much weight on his hind legs.
His right ear is flopped forward from damage in the assault and will likely not stand up proudly like the ears of others of his breed.
Morton said Barkley, a tough little guy, was up on his feet an hour after his surgery. On Thursday, he continued to do well.
Lots of families and individuals have asked about adopting the puppy when he is fully recovered, she said.
“I was blown away by the generosity of people,” she said of the successful fundraising effort. “I heard from people as far away as South Carolina.
“They all wanted to do everything they could to help this puppy.”
Email Denise A. Raymo:
To learn more about the North Country Animal Shelter or to donate, go to:
http://tinyurl.com/8tkf3oe, http://tinyurl.com/9lxo4e9 or mail checks to 124 Bare Hill Road,
Malone, NY 12953. Reach the shelter by phone at 483-8079.