Last week, we took on the extreme case of Vanilla, an emaciated pit bull from the Lancaster Shelter in LA County. While we were there to get Vanilla, acting shelter manager Raul Rodriguez asked us to consider another dog.
Raul explained that when Keaton, a young Shepard mix, initially came into the shelter, he was unable to use his front limb. The shelter staff assumed Keaton had been hit by a car. They sent him for x-rays and were shocked to discover the truth: Keaton had been shot, and the bullet was still in his body.
JDHF co-founders Nancy and Katherine Heigl appreciate the uphill and endless challenges that shelter workers face every day. When shelter managers ask for help, the Heigl’s try to help whenever possible. Keaton was no exception. So, back to Lancaster we went, to pull Keaton.
The first vet that we had examine Keaton provided unfortunate news. The bullet had pretty much shattered the bone. Worse, Keaton is a very young dog, only around 1 year old, and his body, eager to repair itself had begun to heal. But it was healing incorrectly.
The first surgeon felt amputation was his only option. We asked for a second surgeon to evaluate Keaton’s condition. Again, they recommended amputation. We were disappointed. While many dogs do very well on three legs, the fact is that dogs are not meant to have only three legs. Being a "tri-pod" can cause joint issues later in life from the abnormal weight distribution, and Keaton is just so young.
We sought out a third opinion. We went to Animal Hospital of the South Bay where veterinary surgeon Dr. Denise Bierans evaluated Keaton. Dr. Bierans was willing to attempt the long, complex surgery to try to save Keaton’s leg. She warned us that there could be complications, but believes she has a chance of being able to help Keaton and Keaton has nothing to lose for the effort.
Poor Keaton. We may never know why he was shot: if someone was trying to kill him, trying to paralyze him, or just shooting him for kicks. It’s disheartening to consider. But Keaton is in good hands now. He began very shyly with his foster mom. But in a few short days, with his foster mom’s patience and kindness, Keaton has started to trust humans again after being so severely betrayed by them previously.
It’s not surprising that the surgery that Dr. Bierans is attempting is quite expensive, even with a generous rescue discount. But we believe that if we have a chance of saving Keaton’s leg, we should. If you can find it in your heart to help us help this very sweet, beautiful dog, please make a donation. We are looking forward to the day when Keaton can fearlessly run as all young dogs should. With your support, he will.