News

Maimed body, friendly spirit

Gunny's body is scarred and he's missing part of one leg, but otherwise it's hard to believe this dog was once apparently bait in a dog-fighting operation.

The pit bull terrier survived his ordeal with his spirit unbroken. He's loving, gentle and eager for affection and playtime.

Hundreds have donated money and gifts, followed his recovery online and found inspiration in his character. Now they plan to celebrate.

Gunny's caregiver, Amy Murphy, is inviting his supporters and the public to meet him today at the Wine Vault in the University City area.

Other dogs aren't invited. Gunny is still recovering from two surgeries, and as many as 100 people hope to attend, based on e-mails.

“One of the things I've learned from Gunny is how willing people can be to help,” said Murphy, a volunteer with the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue who took Gunny in last month.

One of the first people to help found the 2- or 3-year-old dog on the side of a road and delivered him to an animal rescue agency. It didn't take pit bulls, so Gunny ended up at an animal control center in Greenville, S.C.

Laurel Watson, a Dallas, N.C., volunteer for the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, was scanning the animal control center's Web site in May. Pictures of Gunny with a badly mangled leg moved her.

She didn't want to see the dog suffer for days waiting to be euthanized.

Watson took Gunny to Lake Cross Veterinary Hospital in Huntersville. A veterinarian there said that Gunny didn't have to be put down, but he urgently needed medical attention.

Murphy, a friend of Watson's, agreed to take Gunny in temporarily.

Gunny brushed against Murphy, seeking affection, when she arrived to pick him up from the veterinarian's office. He was so dirty she asked if he might have a contagious condition.

His body was covered with scars – so many bite marks that no one has counted.

At first Murphy thought he was wearing a purple cast on his leg.

The leg was, instead, badly swollen, disfigured and infected, with a 3-inch wound that oozed so continuously it left a puddle.

“That's when I started crying,” Murphy said.

Murphy and Watson said a dog of Gunny's nature, one who would not fight, would have been used as bait, tied down near fighting dogs that likely tore into him in “training” sessions.

Watson and Murphy and others circulated e-mails to raise money for Gunny's medical care.

Donations so far total about $1,800, and treatments have cost about $2,100.

“This is a very rare thing to have his medical bills paid for,” said Beth Phillips, president and co-owner of the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue in Harrisburg.

His injured leg has been amputated and a second surgery unblocked his salivary glands.

Gunny, as tough as the gunnery sergeants he was named for, licked the caregivers who prodded, poked and subjected him to other painful medical procedures.

“His spirit is amazing,” Murphy said. “He has every reason to be afraid and timid. He has no reservations about people or animals. His ability to let things go and move on is so incredible.”

Gunny gets along well with Murphy's other dog, Oscar, and three cats – all rescued castoffs.

Murphy, who lives in Harrisburg, still regularly posts information about Gunny at the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue Web site, as she does for many animals that are available for adoption.

Gunny, though, developed a following.

“That dog has been to hell and back, but he looked like the happiest dog you could ever see,” said Gene Pleas, who met Gunny this month at a birthday party that Murphy hosted for her dog Oscar. “He was hopping around on three legs with a ball in his mouth.

“If we can't draw some kind of parallel, I think we're missing the boat.”

Gunny's body is scarred and he's missing part of one leg, but otherwise it's hard to believe this dog was once apparently bait in a dog-fighting operation.

The pit bull terrier survived his ordeal with his spirit unbroken. He's loving, gentle and eager for affection and playtime.

Hundreds have donated money and gifts, followed his recovery online and found inspiration in his character. Now they plan to celebrate.

Gunny's caregiver, Amy Murphy, is inviting his supporters and the public to meet him today at the Wine Vault in the University City area.

Other dogs aren't invited. Gunny is still recovering from two surgeries, and as many as 100 people hope to attend, based on e-mails.

“One of the things I've learned from Gunny is how willing people can be to help,” said Murphy, a volunteer with the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue who took Gunny in last month.

One of the first people to help found the 2- or 3-year-old dog on the side of a road and delivered him to an animal rescue agency. It didn't take pit bulls, so Gunny ended up at an animal control center in Greenville, S.C.

Laurel Watson, a Dallas, N.C., volunteer for the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, was scanning the animal control center's Web site in May. Pictures of Gunny with a badly mangled leg moved her.

She didn't want to see the dog suffer for days waiting to be euthanized.

Watson took Gunny to Lake Cross Veterinary Hospital in Huntersville. A veterinarian there said that Gunny didn't have to be put down, but he urgently needed medical attention.

Murphy, a friend of Watson's, agreed to take Gunny in temporarily.

Gunny brushed against Murphy, seeking affection, when she arrived to pick him up from the veterinarian's office. He was so dirty she asked if he might have a contagious condition.

His body was covered with scars – so many bite marks that no one has counted.

At first Murphy thought he was wearing a purple cast on his leg.

The leg was, instead, badly swollen, disfigured and infected, with a 3-inch wound that oozed so continuously it left a puddle.

“That's when I started crying,” Murphy said.

Murphy and Watson said a dog of Gunny's nature, one who would not fight, would have been used as bait, tied down near fighting dogs that likely tore into him in “training” sessions.

Watson and Murphy and others circulated e-mails to raise money for Gunny's medical care.

Donations so far total about $1,800, and treatments have cost about $2,100.

“This is a very rare thing to have his medical bills paid for,” said Beth Phillips, president and co-owner of the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue in Harrisburg.

His injured leg has been amputated and a second surgery unblocked his salivary glands.

Gunny, as tough as the gunnery sergeants he was named for, licked the caregivers who prodded, poked and subjected him to other painful medical procedures.

“His spirit is amazing,” Murphy said. “He has every reason to be afraid and timid. He has no reservations about people or animals. His ability to let things go and move on is so incredible.”

Gunny gets along well with Murphy's other dog, Oscar, and three cats – all rescued castoffs.

Murphy, who lives in Harrisburg, still regularly posts information about Gunny at the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue Web site, as she does for many animals that are available for adoption.

Gunny, though, developed a following.

“That dog has been to hell and back, but he looked like the happiest dog you could ever see,” said Gene Pleas, who met Gunny this month at a birthday party that Murphy hosted for her dog Oscar. “He was hopping around on three legs with a ball in his mouth.

“If we can't draw some kind of parallel, I think we're missing the boat.”

  Comments