NEW CASTLE —
Friday morning, Jill Jones was running errands near Wal-Mart when she saw, as she described to the Henrys, what at first appeared to be a deer covered with snow on an on-ramp to Route 376.
“She said she drove past it and saw it was too small to be a deer,” Joe said. “When she looked closer, she could see it was a dog.”
Jones backed up and pulled her car off the road and approached the animal. He was shivering, but alive. She didn’t know if she could lift him, but she said she wasn’t leaving him there to die. Jones also had no idea if the dog was friendly or, if hurt, might attack her.
“She told us, she said to herself, ‘OK, dog, if you’re going to bite me, go ahead and bite me, because I’m not leaving you here.’ ”
She had to pry the animal from the frozen ground, but the 50-pound dog not only let her pick him up, she told the Henrys, but he also let out a huge sigh of relief when she laid him on the seat of her car.
She immediately called the office of her own veterinarian, Sumney, who told her to bring the dog right in.
“Jill picked up the dog and carried him in, in her arms, and he is not a little dog,” Sumney said. “Another client of ours was coming in at the same time and helped her.”
Staff immediately assessed the dog’s condition.
“He was covered with snow and hungry and he couldn’t stand,” Sumney said. “We warmed him, gave him some food and water and did some bloodwork on him to see if he was in any kind of organ failure, which he wasn’t.
“As soon as I looked at him, I could see he was an older dog, but well-cared for. His nails were clipped and his coat was in good shape. I immediately thought, ‘this is someone’s dog.’ ”
Before long, though, he became everyone’s dog.
“Every time I went back into the exam room to check on him, there were more people in there,” Sumney said. “My entire staff was in there, petting him and telling him he was going to be OK. Clients heard what was going on and came in to see if he was all right. He was really scared, but everyone was trying to comfort him.”
Staff members tried to get the dog to stand, but his legs collapsed underneath him.
“We are not a shelter, we don’t take in animals, but I agreed to keep him overnight,” Sumney said. “My staff posted his picture on Facebook and immediately we started getting responses from all over — from people offering to foster him, to adopt him, to help pay for his care.”
When Sumney and her staff arrived Saturday, the dog had rallied a bit.
“When I walked in, he was wagging his tail,” she said. “He was able to go to the bathroom for the first time since he’d been there and we helped him up and he was able to stand.”
Although numerous offers to foster the dog had come in, Sumney’s staff members agreed to watch him on a rotating basis through the weekend while he continued to recuperate.
“We didn’t know exactly what this sweet boy had been through,” Sumney said. “We were hopeful that his owner would surface, but when a couple of days passed, I became convinced no one would claim him.
“I have never seen a response to anything like this,” she added. “Our phone was ringing off the hook. People were calling me at home. We had over 240 shares on Facebook.”