Phoenix Animal Rescue, located in Newberry, Florida, recently was completely exonerated of all fictitious charges brought against them by disgruntled ex-employees and volunteers, and is having a victory party this week. As reported here, the rescue never stopped helping animals, even during their darkest days, surrounded by unfounded lies and suspicions. Over an 18-month period, they lost many financial supporters. One of the dogs they helped during the time they so desperately needed donations is Gilligan.
This sweet dog was found on a remote Florida biking trail in July 2014, and was moments from death. His finder rushed him to Phoenix’s partnering veterinary clinic, West End Animal Hospital, for emergency treatment, based on what they’d seen posted on Facebook about the miraculous recoveries they’ve made happen for numerous Phoenix dogs.
Gilligan was paralyzed, with a broken back. He had been hit by a car several weeks prior to being found and had lain on the bike path, unable to move, in the hot Florida summer sun, and would have died within hours of being found had he not received emergency veterinary care.
Over the next couple weeks, Gilligan slowly recovered but was still unable to walk. Radiographs sent the to University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine specialists showed a very bad break that nearly severed his spinal column. As he built muscle mass, Gilligan started to move his back legs a little and the rescue sought the advice of a specialist at UF to see if they could help him walk again. The cost was considerable. $6,000 for this operation, and he already had accumulated thousands in vet bills to save his life.
It took a couple of weeks to raise the funds, but Phoenix supporters rallied for this sweet canine. People from all over the world donated to help Gilligan. Gilligan had spine stabilization surgery at the University of Florida using titanium screws and a cement made of his own bone material.
Gilligan continued learning to use his back legs again, with the help of an older dog named Bonnie who came to Phoenix for hospice care. She encouraged him to walk, building more muscle so he could eventually run and play. She’s old and arthritic, and joining her on short walks got Gilligan up and moving.
In December 2014, Gilligan’s foster family decided to adopt him. His foster mom, now forever mom, is the Good Samaritan who found him that hot July day on the remote bike path, putting into motion everything Gilligan needed to live, to walk, and to be a happy, healthy dog with a family who loves him.
Bonnie has also moved on, finding her own forever foster family and helps her foster dad cope with the effects of dementia. He is in charge of her medications each morning and her foster mom reports that she has given him a reason to live, slowing the decline of his dementia. Bonnie will remain with her forever foster family for continued hospice care for the rest of her life, supported by Phoenix Animal Rescue.
Gilligan and Bonnie still get to see each other regularly, as Gilligan babysits Bonnie whenever her family goes out of town. Never give up hope that, though the darkness may seem impenetrable, there will be a light shining through to guide your way home. Phoenix, forever strong.