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Within a matter of hours, Spirit had three near-death experiences. The first was perhaps the most traumatic. A stray, 8-month-old mixed pointer in rural Georgia, Spirit was shot in the right shoulder with a high-velocity rifle. According to the veterinary surgeon who later examined him, the trajectory of the bullet indicated that the shot was meant to be a fatal one to Spirit’s heart.
Next, Spirit was limping across a road, suddenly unable to use his leg, when he was struck by a car. A woman saw it happen and said that he rolled over twice and then crawled under her porch. She called the local animal control agency.
An animal control officer pulled Spirit out from under the porch and brought him to their shelter. In this rural shelter, they take in about 8,000 dogs a year. About 100 are adopted. The math tells a chilling story.
The Washington Animal Rescue League happened to make one of our regular stops at this shelter the day that Spirit arrived, and Spirit escaped death for the third time.
Back in Washington, Spirit became a Love Fund dog. The League’s President and CEO, Dr. Gary Weitzman, called in an orthopedic specialist to help remove the bullet fragments from Spirit’s leg and mend the fracture with a plate.
On May 23, Spirit went home with Craig, a retired man who lives in suburban Maryland. He’s now called Jake. He still walks with a limp, but he and his new human companion now manage three walks to the Metro per week (a two-mile round trip). And he takes additional, shorter jaunts in a nearby wooded area to keep the deer and squirrels on their toes.
When not out and about, Jake holds court in the living room, where his bed is. But he doesn’t sleep in the bed, preferring to use that as a place to keep his toys while he sprawls on the rug. And Jake keeps more than toys on his bed. If he notices that Craig is interested in something, that item is also of interest to Jake. So among the things that Craig has found on Jake’s bed are the television remote, his cell phone charger, and books and magazine he had set down to finish reading later.