It started with a phone call our Investigators didn’t expect. The arrival of the Retriever cross from Middlesex County was an emotional moment charged by urgency and concern, as we witnessed the heartbreaking look of pain and distress on his face.
He was in shock with brutally inflicted gunshot wounds, whimpering and unable to walk. His condition spurred immediate action by the veterinary staff at the London Humane Society. Our veterinary technician gently transported him inside with his head on her shoulder. It was a gut-wrenching sight on a late September afternoon but everyone was ready to do what they could to help.
Immediate concerns for his health were his survival and loss of limb: he had been shot twice in his front leg. Undoubtedly, his abandonment after being wounded and then his instinctive reaction to travel for help worsened the situation.
Swelling disguised the wound’s severity placed right at his elbow. After x-rays, he was heavily medicated and on cage rest to accelerate the healing. His great spirit kept everyone hoping for the best. In the following days, this trying and sorrowful situation escalated as his pain was difficult to relieve. A pain patch along with injected pain medication failed to provide complete relief.
Finally, after several days, he started to show signs of recovery. He was eager to get out of his cage and his appetite returned. The tenacious veterinary and animal care staff was rewarded for their efforts with Clifford’s happy disposition.
This large red dog had patience, friendliness and an eagerness to please – just like his namesake from the children’s stories. A month after the attack, the swelling reduced and the veterinarian recommended that the bullets stay in place. They weren’t posing a risk and surgery could produce complications. More rest was ordered but the looming prospect of amputation was eliminated. It was a sharp contrast to the original prognosis and welcome news for all.
His stamina prevailed to improve his strength and wellness. Determination to use his wounded leg helped overcome his weakness and gain full mobility. He constantly tested his agility with animal health staff and was moved up for adoption.
Now, Clifford is with his new family who love him very much. “His leg is doing well. We are taking it easy, but does he ever love to run! He has picked up a few new tricks – he even does ‘shake a paw’,” says his new mom. “When he sleeps he lies down and crosses his front paws – always left over right. The children at my granddaughter’s school know him as Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
Without support services in place like the London Humane Society, there would have been a very different outcome for Clifford.