SEQUIM — “I’ve never ever seen anything like this in my whole life,” said Mel Marshall of Welfare for Animals Guild of Sequim about the condition of one of their newest dogs, re-christened Zelenskyy, when she first met him at Best Friends Pet Care Center in Port Angeles on March 21.
“It was pretty horrific.”
Staff with Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG) described Zelenskyy’s ordeal, as relayed by a local veterinarian: chained to the back of a flatbed trailer, the dog fell off while it was moving and was dragged some distance before he was discovered.
Large parts of his skin were missing, said Marshall, “and every single toenail ripped out.”
Some of the toenails will not grow back.
According to WAG representatives, the previous owners brought him to a veterinarian at Best Friends and surrendered him, unable to pay the more than $7,000 WAG now is investing in his recovery.
That night, Marshall, Joy Brown and Barb Brabant of WAG rushed him to the Animal Emergency Center and Trauma Center in Poulsbo.
Although rubbed raw and bleeding, Zelenskyy had no internal injuries or broken bones and has been recovering well, WAG volunteers said, as they worked to keep things calm for the approximately 1-year-old energetic Labrador/husky mix.
They speculated the vehicle was moving slowly or on an unpaved road, but they don’t know exactly what happened.
WAG has posted an online fundraiser to help pay the bills at gofundme.com/f/zelenskyy-the-lab-mix-medical-bill, which had reached more than $6,215 in donations as of Tuesday.
Zelenskyy is a “sweet, energetic young boy,” Brown said.
“(He’s got) lots of energy, super sweet … he’s smart and learns things quickly.”
“He has soulful, sweet eyes,” Marshall said.
“He’s stoic and brave,” Brown added.
And that was how he earned his new name, they said.
He is called ZZ for short, or Z-dog and other affectionate nicknames.
“We didn’t know if he would survive that first day,” Marshall said. “It was horrific. He’s an amazing healer.”
“We had to carry him outside in the beginning because he couldn’t walk,” Brown said. “By the fourth day, he was able to stand.”
Said Marshall: “He has a wonderful appetite, which is great because he needs the energy to heal his wounds.”
Dr. Linda Allen of Pacific Northwest Veterinary Hospital has been in charge of his care in Sequim, they said.
“She’s been doing an amazing job with him,” Marshall said. “She was able to suture and close his wounds.
“From where he’s started, it’s amazing to see where he is today.”
Zelenskyy weighed 40 pounds the night they met him, and he has gained 14 pounds so far.
WAG projects that Zelenskyy will be ready to be adopted in six to eight weeks; by that time, he should be recovered sufficiently to catch up on his vaccinations. Any final surgeries and his neutering will take place April 24.
The ladies at WAG expect him to be adopted quickly, as he has such a lovable personality.
“He’s friendly to everybody,” Marshall said.
“We hope that this story will bring awareness to people, that it is unsafe to travel with your dog in the back of a truck or trailer, and of course to see that, even though it was horrific, he is now healing.”
Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at email@example.com.