A dog that suffered third degree burns in a fire has been given a second chance and a new name, thanks to the staff of Island Veterinary Services, local school children and donations.
The male young adult dog was brought into Island Vet as an emergency case on 10 May after a shed he was tied up to caught fire the day before.
A concerned neighbour contacted the Cayman Humane Society who picked him up and brought him to Island Veterinary Services.
‘We’ve dealt with burn victims before, but this is the worst we’ve seen here,’ said Dr. Elisabeth Broussard, one of the veterinary surgeons who has been overseeing his care.
‘We’re not sure how he got away, maybe the rope that was on him burned,’ she said. ‘But he sustained second and third degree burns to his face, his left side and back. Probably about 30 to 40 per cent of his body was burned second to third degree, so that’s pretty intense.’
Third-degree burns are very serious burns which occur when the epidermis is lost with damage to the subcutaneous tissue. They result in scarring and loss of hair.
And no-one has stepped forward as the dog’s owner so he is being treated at Island Vet through their generosity and help from others
But with the bill already running to about $2,000 and up to another two months of vet care necessary for the dog’s recovery, it looks like the bill could eventually top $7,000, so any extra donations would be greatly welcomed, said Island Vet staff.
One group of people who were amongst the first to step up to the plate to help the unfortunate animal are the students of class 6C at Cayman Prep School.
They had held a bake sale and raised $300 and decided to donate it for the dog’s care.
The Cayman Humane Society also donated $1200 for the dog’s treatment.
‘We will continue to the best of our ability to support the care and rehabilitation of the dog, who is very sweet and deserves a chance having survived such a horrible ordeal,’ said Twila Escalante of the Humane Society.
And the George Town Primary School annual dress down day will also donate funds raised, estimated to be around $400, to the dog’s hospital bill.
Cayman Prep 6C class member Sidney Riley explained, ‘It feels good to help a dog. I’d like to do it again.’
She and 13 other members of her class visited Island Vet last week to meet the brave canine who they were given the honour of naming.
Teacher Lorraine Orton explained that they had studied Mount Olympus in school and one of its Greek Gods, Apollo, the Sun God, stood out to them as a good name for him.
And Apollo was not only pleased with his new name – but with all the attention and affection being lavished on him by the class, when they visited him.
Looking very handsome in brightly coloured bandages which covered his body, he licked and greeted the students enthusiastically, gobbling up treats from them.
Some exposed flesh around his upper head and ears and peeking through from under the bandages revealed some of the torture the dog has recently gone through.
Ms Orton, proud of her class, stated, ‘The children are very kind and giving. They are concerned about the care of animals on the island. There are some very sad cases they hear of and they want to help’.
Dr. Broussard praised the children for their generosity. ‘$300 really helps,’ she said. ‘Anything helps’.
Dr. Broussard is hoping that Apollo will be ok, although there is a concern of infection setting in to the third degree burns.
Nevertheless she remains optimistic, ‘I’d be really surprised at this point if he didn’t do well,’ she said.
They are looking for a loving home for the dog for when he is ready to leave the vet’s office.
Dr. Broussard describes him as ‘Very relaxed and good with kids. We’ve had no problems with him whatsoever, even in as much pain as he has been in.’
She pointed out that he may need some extra monitoring in whatever home he goes to as he will probably be sensitive for a long time from his injuries and scars.
Any area of his skin that lost hair, it will not grow back, so sunburn will be his biggest obstacle in future and he will need sun-block applied.
Apollo is neutered and heartworm negative.
Dr. Broussard said it was a blessing that he was tied up with rope and she surmises that this could be how he got away. ‘If he was on a chain he probably would not have made it,’ she said, unless someone had got him off the chain.
The best way to keep dogs under control is through fencing, she said, which she advised responsible pet owners to keep in mind.
Anyone interested in making a donation towards Apollo’s care, in adopting him or just wishing to call in and visit him, can call Island Vet on 949 0787.