Press-Republican

January 15, 2013

Abused dog get new lease on life

BY SHAWN RYAN
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — JoJo was found tied to a tree last September, seemingly left for dead.

Thanks to an outpouring of support from as far away as Texas, Champlain Valley Veterinary Services collected enough money not only to treat the dog’s severe injuries but had about $1,200 left over.

That amount will be donated to Elmore SPCA in Peru and the Adirondack Humane Society in Plattsburgh, according to Healey Mayette, a veterinary assistant at the Plattsburgh clinic.

BROKEN HIP, NERVE DAMAGE

JoJo’s saga started well before someone reported her plight to the dog control officer in Town of AuSable, where the brindle-colored whippet mix was found tethered to the tree. 

She was extremely emaciated, Mayette said. 

And from the extent of her injuries, she had apparently been abused for an extended period of time and possibly struck by a car. 

X-rays showed a broken hip, as well damage to the nerves where one hip meets the spine. JoJo, as her rescuers named her, could barely walk and would pull herself along on her front legs, dragging her back legs behind her in obvious pain.

“She’s a big sweetheart, but she would vocalize a lot,” Mayette said. “If you touched her, she would scream. 

“She was in a lot of pain.” 

JoJo’s surgery was estimated to cost nearly $5,000; the only other option would have been to euthanize the dog.

NATIONWIDE RESPONSE

As soon as the Town of AuSable legally claimed the abandoned canine, Mayette and other clinic staff members began a campaign to raise the money. Collection cans were placed in numerous businesses, along with a picture of the wide-eyed dog and the story of her plight. 

The SUNY Plattsburgh Arts Department staff donated artwork consisting of paintings, photographs and sculpture pieces for a raffle.

Media coverage sent the story nationwide, and money started coming in not just from locals but from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Texas.  Donations ranged from pocket change to two gifts of $500 each, both from out of state. One woman, also from out of state, sent a box of home-made jewelry along with her donation, which was included in the raffle.

When the media reported that the effort had brought in $1,200, the veterinary clinic received calls from people claiming to be JoJo’s owner, requesting both the dog and the $1,200, said Mayette, who spearheaded the fund drive.

The dog remained with her benefactors, and the fund topped off at more than its goal of $4,500.

SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

JoJo had surgery in November 2012 at the Vermont Veterinary Surgical Center. 

Dr. Paul Howard was able to carve into the bone to make room for the damaged nerves and avoid major bone reconstruction.

“Dr. Howard said it would be a while before she started walking,” Mayette said. 

But the dog was back on her feet only a month after the surgery.

“... she’s the most stubborn thing in the world. She’s now walking, running. She’s crazy now.”

Because of her relatively young age, JoJo should not suffer any long-term medical problems from her injuries, Mayette said.

FAST FRIENDS

Mayette didn’t want to reveal the name of the family who adopted JoJo due to concerns about previous owners possibly trying to get her back, she said.

Those who rescued her don’t want a repeat of the dog’s past abuse. 

But JoJo is making the best of her second chance, the vet assistant said. She now lives at a home with an apple orchard, where she can run and play with her new sister, Lieca, or just lounge on the family couch.

Her new owners had tried to bring in a second dog in the past, but Lieca would never allow it. But the still-skinny whippet become her fast friend and immediately part of the family.