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Bear is looking much more healthy these days after enduring infected porcupine quill wounds in late April. - CONTRIBUTED
It turns out Bear might have the heart of a lion.
When Nova Scotia SPCA enforcement officers first saw the dog in late April, things looked bleak. Bear’s face was filled with porcupine quills, and he had been neglected for so long that the fishhook barbs in the quills had dug in deep, causing severe infections. The dog was whimpering from the pain, according to a post on the SPCA’s Facebook page.
This week, Bear has been cleared medically and the society is accepting applications for adoption.
“Oh my gosh, it has been night and day, it really has been,” said Taylor Mundy, provincial fund development co-ordinator with the SPCA in Dartmouth, during a phone interview Tuesday.
“When he first came to us, it was just heartbreaking.”
Bear’s road to recovery may not have been all that long, but it was filled with obstacles. The dog was rushed into emergency surgery to try to remove the buried quills and was put on three medications for pain. A subsequent surgery was also deemed a success, with buried quills removed from the animal’s forehead, tongue and eye. A full recovery is expected, though Bear is on antibiotics, as well as eye and pain medications.
An investigation led the SPCA to allege that Bear was kept outdoors for most of his life and, in addition to the quill injuries, had sores on his joints, an ear infection, overgrown nails and a dirty, matted coat. The enforcement team’s probe has led to charges being laid against Bear’s previous owner under the Animal Protection Act. Further details, including where the dog was picked up, are not being released so as not to compromise any court proceedings.
“He has so much love to give, despite everything he’s been through. The family that adopts him, they’re going to have a great best friend, for sure."
- Taylor Mundy, provincial fund development co-ordinator with the SPCA in Dartmouth
The story has touched animal lovers across the country, and donations to help pay for care have been gratefully accepted through a website.
“It’s been truly overwhelming to see the outpouring of love for Bear,” said Mundy.
“Most of them, they were from Nova Scotia, they had heard the story and they were living away.”
The SPCA hasn’t been tracking the tally that closely, but Bear’s costs of care should be less that what’s raised in his name, so the additional funds will help other animals in need of emergency medical treatment.
That may even include other animals that encounter porcupines.
“It is common,” Mundy said.
“Probably within the past two to three weeks, porcupines have been running the roads and just be aware that this could happen to your pet. And if this happens, get them to a vet as soon as possible.”
Bear, which best guesses peg as a three-year-old Lab-Pyrenees mix, has better days ahead. Mundy said that as of late Tuesday there were already plenty of applications and expressions of interest in adopting him.
“He is still on several medications for the pain and may get tuckered out from all the love, so we ask that people are patient if he is on a ‘time out’ if they drop by to visit,” she said.
“He has so much love to give, despite everything he’s been through. The family that adopts him, they’re going to have a great best friend, for sure.
“I think it’s just because he is such a champion. He’s been through a lot. Given everything, he really is a fighter.”
True enough, but there was also a team at the SPCA that sprang into action, said Mundy, starting with the quick response of the enforcement officers, veterinarians that provided round-the-clock treatment, and shelter staff and volunteers.