Billy’s Happy Ending


Billy — 4 1/2 months, cross breed — hit by car...

...left outside to drag his broken leg, creeping along ditches to avoid the big dog that bit at his leg.

Another call for help from Crystal who rescues dogs in the village of Bella Bella on the coast of BC...

Billy's sad start...

I found another puppy, probably four months old, who was trying to walk and dragging his back legs behind him. I went to the house that I had seen him outside of before and asked if he was theirs and what was wrong with him? The woman told me that it was her daughter's, but they don't let it in the house and that it was hit by a car about a week ago! They didn't even bother to call a vet. She says the other dogs bite at his back legs and he hasn't been able to get around very well. She's not interested in sending him to the vet, so I said I would and she agreed. Help!

Showing malnutrition - puppies should be chubby!

Billy was flown to us from up the coast where he was put outside when only a few weeks old and left to fend for himself. He was lonely, frightened and ignored and he was becoming feral. He was also only occasionally fed and so he was seriously underweight. His leg may be able to be saved, or it may not, but AAS knows from first-hand experience that a dog only needs three legs to be happy. He is submissive and very biddable and teachable.

Update: Billy will not lose his leg! He will be having surgery to fix his broken hip on August 14th. Everyone at our vet's, where he is, is so smitten by this wee boy. The surgery will be performed by a specialist surgeon.

Billy and Marine Drive Vet tech Carolyn who has been fostering Billy for AAS, showing how well Billy can stand and walk and how happy he is after surgery to fix the hip that was broken when he was run over by his "family" who wouldn't let him in the house or take him to a vet.

Billy's surgeon was Dr Terry Schiller assisted by Marine Drive Vet Dr Anne Irwin.  Dr Schiller has been good to AAS and its dogs that need bone surgery before and of course Marine Drive Vet  and Dr Alf Burt has been so kind and generous to AAS for so many years, unfailingly giving us the best veterinary care.

Billy's happy ending...

...with Jocelyn and Bill and Ayla on Galiano Island.

Billy seems to be doing wonderfully. We got home about 8:30 pm after the long drive to Tsawassen and supper and a pee at the terminal. Ayla, our 5 year old golden retriever was delighted to see him and they played, probably more energetically than was good for him, but he seemed to love it so I wasn't too strict. They took all the toys out of Ayla's toybox, plus the sock and rawhide bones Billy brought, and scattered them around the living-dining room. They both love squeaky rubber toys. We set up Billy's crate in our bedroom so he could see and hear us and Ayla, who usually chooses to sleep beside our bed, through the night. I woke up during the night and was able to take him out at three am.

Thursday I had to go to Victoria for a clarinet exam and Bill had a golf game, so the dogs would be alone for a few hours. The two dogs had the run of the house and garden for about four hours. One of Bill's slippers had been taken down to the living room and hidden behind a couch, but it was undamaged. No housetraining "mistakes" in the house! And Billy demonstrated that he can climb stairs, which I had thought he couldn't the night before. We were so impressed, we decided to give Billy the run of our bedroom overnight Thursday night. We left the door to the deck open and he did a poop out there overnight.

He has had only one single accident in the house, and that was Wednesday evening just after we arrived. He takes himself out to the garden when he needs to go. We have had two short walks on the leash so far today and I hope it isn't just wishful thinking that he seems to be using his bad leg more regularly. He hates the exercises to stretch his tendons, but I am trying to work up to ten in the morning and evening. He is a real delight. Bill and I love watching him explore the house and, to a lesser extent, outdoors. To see him and Ayla playing is wonderfully entertaining. He seems to enjoy watching us and being part of the family, likes being in the same room definitely. He is responding enthusiastically to us and Ayla.

He is truly a delightful little guy, changing every day as he becomes more confident in these surroundings and more affectionate toward us. It is a job to stop him from exercising too much because he so often wants to jump around, tossing the stuffed toys (we get them from Thrift stores and most of them have lost much of their stuffing) in the air and running after them or jumping on Ayla.

We have had absolutely no accidents in the house except the one on Wednesday evening.. This morning when we misunderstood his signal that he needed to go out, he climbed upstairs to the second floor, found the open door to the deck off the bedroom and peed outside on the deck! A clever and determined dog!

On Saturday we went to a beach access area. Billy paddled a bit (I was not swimming myself to take him in further) while Ayla swam out more, but it seemed good that he used all four legs a lot to clamber over the uneven sandstone formations. Sunday morning my friend Gaby, who is a retired nurse, came over. She was apprehensive about working on a dog to whom she was a stranger, but Billy was wonderfully calm and friendly and co-operative as she removed his stitches. He obviously had wonderful care at the Marine Drive Vet clinic (in North Vancouver) as he has no apprehension at all about being lifted onto the counter.

I am telling his story and describing Animal Advocates to everyone we meet, not only because you deserve recognition for the great work you do, but also because meeting Billy may encourage other people to support you or adopt.

Thank you Jocelyn,

for being a real dog-person and to you and Bill for caring enough about the plight of this little dog, run over and left to fend for himself, dragging his broken hip and hiding in ditches from the big dogs that run in packs in this village to take him into your home and hearts, gimpy leg and all. It took you, Marine Drive Vet, surgeon Terry Schiller, Carolyn, the vet tech and Billy's foster person, Crystal Kerr who got him out of that place.

AAS has spent so much energy for ten years building a network of vets, foster homes, supporters, and donators, so that pups like Billy don't end up shot or run over again, or euthanized, never having known the joy of having a family, friends, fun, good food, and lots of love.

October 2006 update

Thought you might enjoy the photos of a happy day at the beach this summer. Billy is a real "Happy Ending". It breaks my heart to think that every abused, neglected dog is as capable of happiness and giving and receiving love as Billy is, if only there were enough loving families to care for them. Thank you for the work you are doing.


Jocelyn Gifford and Bill Foster

Billy's bills came to $1,076.50 and would have come to a great deal more if not for the kindness and generosity of Dr Alf Burt of the Marine Drive Veterinary Hospital in North Vancouver and Dr Terry Schiller of the Animal Critical Care Clinic, the orthopedic surgeon. If you can help us to pay for Billy's bills and the bills of many other of our rescues with a tax-receiptable donation, we would be so grateful.

Read more about Crystal Kerr, the woman who saved Billy's life and the lives of so many others.

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