BY GLENN PUIT
BEULAH — The plight of a stray puppy discovered badly injured in Benzie County has prompted an outpouring of support from pet lovers across the nation.
Good Samaritans found the puppy, dubbed "Broken" because its front legs are fractured. Benzie County Animal Control Supervisor Jaime Croel responded to the call on Christmas Eve and observed a badly wounded pooch.
"When I first saw him, I saw his front legs were very swollen and both legs were very injured," Croel said. "He was not mobile. He just kind of looked at you like he was saying, 'Please help'."
Croel returned Broken to the county animal shelter and the dog was given medication to alleviate his pain. The dog had a choke chain around its neck but no other identifiers. Animal Control worker Ed Carter and his wife, Doreen, checked on Broken later that night and were touched by the dog's dilemma.
"This dog had two broken legs, yet he was still wagging his tail and wanting to lick you," said Doreen. "Your heart just went out to him."
Ed Carter told his wife, "we've got to do something," and the next day the couple drove the animal to the Bay Area Pet Hospital in Traverse City for X-rays.
Veterinarian Karen Reabe feared Broken might have to be put down because of his injuries, but also because necessary surgery is expected to cost about $2,500.
"Without surgery he's not going to do very well," Reabe said, noting the dog has fractures of the radius and ulna in both front limbs.
As a result, Bay Area Pet Hospital posted Broken's fate on their Facebook page this week and asked if anyone could help raise money to save the tail-wagger.
The response was overwhelming. The Animal Welfare League of Benzie County is receiving donations from as far away as Alabama and Washington, D.C.
"We've gotten at least six or seven calls an hour," said Joanne Graham, office manager at Bay Area Pet Hospital.
Enough money was raised to pay for the surgery. Dr. Drew Henshaw of Oakwood Veterinary Hospital is scheduled to perform the surgery today, on his day off.
The beagle-hound mix likely will face a month's recovery time. If an owner comes forward and can prove ownership, the dog will be released to that person. Reabe said it's possible Broken was hit by a car, jumped out of a pickup or possibly suffered abuse.
"He's just the sweetest little guy," said Doreen Carter, who works for the Animal Welfare League. "You can just imagine the pain he was in."