Pegasus, an eight-month-old Doberman is one lucky dog. He now bounds around deftly on three legs, but he had been dragging a shriveled, broken limb with a bloody foot for longer than his rescuers want to think about.
In some happy endings, the lengths that some people will go for animals triumphs over the neglect of others. n the case of Pegasus, the great lengths are in the form of local people who paid for his surgery, and a woman who is driving 300 miles, twice, to give him a good home.
The Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter tell the story. Largely through the efforts of two Barnegat Light women, Eleanor George and Dorothy Reynolds, the nonprofit Friends group has been revived and collects donations to care for animals with special needs.
Pegasus certainly qualified.
The leg “was supposed to be surgically taken care of when he was younger, and apparently it was never taken care of, and he was taken into foster care,” said Trish McCallum, a supervisor at the animal shelter off Recovery Road in Manahawkin. “I think the original owners never wanted the dog back to take care of the dog.”
He was surrendered to the shelter in a pitiful condition. “The dog was in pain. He was dragging his leg around, and his foot was bleeding because his leg was dragging,” McCallum said.
Shelter staff and Friends members took him to veterinarian Stephen Wurst in Barnegat to have him examined. “We figured we can’t leave him in pain. We took him and found out that his leg was broken in two spots and the kneecap was rotated”, said McCallum.
His disability was diagnosed after surrender to the shelter; by that time, it was too late to save the leg. “And because it happened at such a young age, the bone was actually bent, so we couldn’t even fix it with a brace,” McCallum added.
Amputation was the only answer. “The only other option was to put him to sleep, and he was too nice of a dog”, said McCallum, who herself is a breeder of champion Samoyeds.
George and Reynolds, officers with the Friends group, stepped in and said they wanted to take care of it. They paid for the amputation.
In the meantime, the shelter had Pegasus neutered, and listed him on its web site.
“This woman down in Baltimore saw him, fell in love with him. She brought her Great Dane up; the dogs got along wonderfully; she fell in love. She’s going to come back and pick him up tomorrow,” George said Tuesday.
It was one happy ending, and if his tail hadn’t been docked, the dog would be wagging it even more visibly. For all of Pegasus’ muscular exuberance, he is “a sweetheart” who lays his head down on your hand when he’s in the car, related George and McCallum.
Now there is a Pegasus Fund run by the Friends group for other happy endings. “That’s going to be our logo: For dogs with special needs, we can help them out,” said George.
It was she who had sort of “found” Pegasus in a foster home in West Creek when she went to adopt another dog. The dog had gone there from a local breeder until he was to be reclaimed, but that never happened, George said. “Nobody has ever admitted that the dog’s leg was broke.”
“He was just immediately happy after the leg was removed,” said McCallum. “You could see night and day. He was just so relieved not to have this thing dragging around.”
McCallum wants people to know that good things happen at the shelter, which offers cats as well as dogs for adoption.
“We just want everyone to know that we do good things here. We get a bad reputation all the time — people think we just put the animals to sleep. We don’t — only if they’re really not adoptable animals do we do that.”
People who love animals, including potential owners who choose to adopt pets from the shelter, can make a bid difference.
Volunteers come in and walk the dogs, and staff gets very involved, sometimes taking animals home to help them adapt to human interaction.