“Have you heard about the poor injured dog at the vets?” asked the duty officer at Heanor Police station.
It was a warm sunny Tuesday morning in late May. When informed that we hadn’t, Linda continued.
“It was found badly injured on Sunday evening and now needs emergency surgery which will cost about £650. We can’t trace the owner and as no one will pay for the treatment it is going to be put to sleep. Do you think Just for Dogs could help?”
Suddenly there was a big black cloud on the horizon.
“We will if we can, but it’s a lot of money” we replied. After giving us the number of Alfreton Park Veterinary Centre Linda said “you’ll have to be quick else you’ll be too late, that’s if you’re not already.”
We were immediately put through to the vet in charge of Casper’s care who relayed the dog’s horrifying ordeal.
The previous Sunday evening someone had dumped Casper from a vehicle on the busy Woodlinkin Bypass, but not before they had cut his throat, and as the vet said whoever did it did not intend the dog surviving the injury, as his neck was slashed both vertically and horizontally. Casper bravely dragged himself to a nearby house and desperately scratched on the door. As the occupant opened the door Casper seemed to panic and turned on his heels heading back up the road. The lady grabbed a lead and hurried after the dog calling softly as she followed, gradually the dog slowed down, turned around and started to cower as the leash was slipped over his head – the lady was still unaware at this point that the dog was injured, it was only as she approached her driveway that she noticed a trail of blood on the ground. Once inside and the full extent of Casper’s injury was revealed both the police and a vet was called immediately. By the time help arrived Casper was on his third blood soaked towel and getting weaker. After an initial examination and whilst the police took a statement, Casper was hurriedly whisked to the veterinary centre where emergency surgery was performed to stabilise the dogs condition, amongst other problems Casper was not only found to have serious damage to both his windpipe and oesophagus, the blade had also caught the jugular vein – a quarter of an inch further and Casper would have been dead within minutes. By Monday morning Casper was still holding his own, but further surgery to repair his oesophagus was essential to allow Casper to eat and drink normally. On Tuesday Casper’s veterinary costs stood at £250 and when the police were informed of the necessity for further surgery costing a further £650 it was decided by the finance department that public funds could not be made available to save an animal’s life.
It was at this point that Just for Dogs were contacted and told Casper’s story. We were totally shell-shocked and had never dealt with cruelty of this kind, we are accustomed to cases of cruelty by neglect, by ignorance, by lack of money, but for someone to deliberately inflict such a barbaric injury to a gentle and trusting lurcher was beyond our comprehension, no one was in any doubt that it was only Casper’s sheer determination and true grit that had facilitated his survival. Sadly what this little dog didn’t understand was that as he bravely fought for his life, time was running out fast. For a warm spring day we all now felt chilled to the bone. There was no hesitation as we asked the vet to do whatever was necessary to save Casper’s life, even though there was a strong possibility that Casper may not survive the operation but, survive he did and simply grew stronger with each passing day.
In the meantime we were working hard on Casper’s behalf. With the help of the Derby Evening Telegraph, The Derbyshire Times and BBC Midlands Today Casper’s story was broadcast, and as calls, letters and donations flooded in from well wishers it was obvious that Derbyshire’s animal lovers were behind us 100%. A home was secured for Casper with a Derby Solicitor, who lived in the picturesque village of Brassington. He was to become a companion to a little terrier who had been adopted from JFD several years earlier, it sounded ideal.
Towards the end of the week Casper was ready to be given his first meal as, up until then, he had been fed via a stomach tube so the vets were not sure that all was in full working order. By the following Monday and just eight days after his near fatal injury Casper was preparing to go to his new home!
£650? – cheap at half the price, and as the well known song goes
I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day,
When its cold outside I’ve got the month of May…