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

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