Mary Kniskern, Sonny’s Spaw and Self Wash owner, shares a moment with Casey, a Great Dane who was rescued after suffering a gunshot wound and the effects of severe hunger in February. (Welfare for Animals Guild)

Mary Kniskern, Sonny’s Spaw and Self Wash owner, shares a moment with Casey, a Great Dane who was rescued after suffering a gunshot wound and the effects of severe hunger in February. (Welfare for Animals Guild)

Great Dane shot in jaw recovering from wounds

Welfare for Animals celebrates event with community

SEQUIM — Casey, a Great Dane rescued from wooded areas on the Olympic Peninsula’s West End with gunshot wounds in February, celebrated his continuing recovery with supporters earlier this month at Sonny’s Spaw and Self Wash.

Owner Mary Kniskern sponsored the March 3 event featuring the raffle of a community gift basket, all aimed at raising awareness of Casey and funds to further his recovery.

“I posted it on Facebook with a gift certificate from Sonny’s Spaw,” Kniskern said, “and suddenly the calls and gifts came streaming in, people and businesses offering sizable gifts to create a wonderful basket, probably worth $1,000.”

In addition, two youngsters offered their own savings to help Casey: Olianna Brailey, saving for a pair of Vans, and Asher Schaafsma, saving for a LEGO set, put aside their own needs to donate to Casey’s cause.

Casey, who had gained 25 pounds, arrived at the event with Barb Brabant, president of the Welfare For Animals (WAG) organization, and WAG Halfway Home Ranch manager Mel Marshall.

Kniskern took him through the basic commands (sit, down, stay) for a treat he took gently from her hand.

“Someone must have spent time with him,” Kniskern said.

Following the details of Casey’s injuries, community members have stepped up with fundraising for his and other dogs in need.

In the first two months of the year, WAG has taken in three dogs with extensive injuries whose combined vet bills are near $25,000. The community has responded to WAG’s needs with nearly $30,000 in donations via GoFundMe, PayPal and cash, WAG representatives said.

The raffle raised another $3,000 for Casey’s care.

Casey’s story

Among the 25-30 people who gathered there was Karen Thomas, the woman who saw Casey stranded in the woods and coaxed him to her car. She detailed the experience, having seen him at night by Beaver Lake but unable to get him to her car, then returning to that spot the next morning, praying to find him again.

“And there he was,” Thomas recalled. “In the same spot, like he was just waiting for me. My granddaughter and I had to lift him into the car. He was too weak to get in by himself.”

She then called Marshall, who agreed to meet her right away. While in transit, Marshall called Dr. Linda Allen of Pacific Northwest Veterinary Hospital to alert her of the dog’s critical condition.

WAG representatives note that Allen cleared her schedule and began lifesaving procedures: IV fluids, X-ray, examination of his mouth and jaw, which had been shattered by bullets.

“I felt real sadness as I looked at the bone fragments under his tongue, rocks embedded in his gums along with gunky infectious debris in his jaw,” Allen said. “He was too emaciated to anesthetize, and I could tell it was painful, but he didn’t growl. He gently put his paw on my arm as if to say, ‘Please stop’ and so I did what I could for that day.”

The following week, after gaining 12 pounds, Casey returned for surgery where Allen removed the bone fragments and repaired his mouth and jaw.

“I was amazed by the amount of destruction to his jaw,” Allen said. “It’s a miracle he survived.”

Casey will need more dental work to maintain healthy teeth and gums, WAG representatives said, “but his future is looking so much better.”

Follow Casey’s care and learn more about WAG at

More in Life

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during Saturday’s annual plant sale and raffle at the floral barn at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The sale, hosted by the Port Angeles Garden Club, was a fundraiser for club projects and scholarships, and it featured a wide variety of plants for the upcoming growing season and beyond. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Plant sale at Clallam County Fairgrounds

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during… Continue reading

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.


(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading

Jaiden Dokken, at Jeanette Best Gallery in Port Townsend, is Northwind Art’s new exhibits coordinator. (Northwind Art)
Poet laureate takes on new role with Northwind Art

Artist, poet and educator Jaiden Dokken is Northwind Art’s… Continue reading

Author John Vaillant stands in front of the iconic tower at Port Angeles City Pier. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Author visits Peninsula for Writer in Residence program

Vaillant awarded Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

A GROWING CONCERN: Volunteers a dream for playground

YOU, MY LOYAL readers, have been excellent the couple of times I… Continue reading

Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

Joanna Gabriel will present the lesson at 11 a.m.… Continue reading