Gaunt and bony from untold days of dehydration, the sleek, black Great Dane nudged his new caretakers with his snout, possibly seeking more nutrition to help restore his now emaciated frame.
“You can’t shock the system,” said Barb Brabant, president of Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG), explaining the slow process of rebuilding the body of the estimated 18-month-old rescue they’ve named Casey.
“But he loves to eat.”
This, despite a shattered jaw.
Representatives with the Sequim nonprofit are looking after the injured dog after responding to a call for help from Forks Friends of Animals on Feb. 3.
Mel Marshall, manager at the WAG Half Way Home Ranch, said they got a call that day that a large dog had been found on the side of the road with a gunshot wound to his head.
“Of course we’ll come and help,” Marshall said.
A West End resident helped get Casey into a car and met WAG representatives, who had to coax the injured canine from his place, curled up behind the driver’s seat in a small sedan.
What they found, Marshall said, was disturbing: a Great Dane size should be about 140 pounds, while this dog was about half that weight, and — with X-rays confirmed by Sequim veterinarian Linda Allen — his jaw shattered.
“We wanted to make sure the bullet had exited his jaw,” Brabant said; it had. So helpers got Casey on an IV.
A couple of days later, Casey weighed in at just 73 pounds. WAG officials feed him cans of wet puppy food softened by water that he eagerly laps up every two non-sleeping hours.
“We’re just happy he doesn’t need a feeding tube,” Brabant said.
The four cans of food aren’t much for a Great Dane, she said, but they are worried about shocking his system.
Though the dog has had obvious trauma and needs food, WAG officials said he’s doing well. Casey eats and sleeps well, is well-behaved and doesn’t mess his room at the WAG facility.
“He loves the people he’s met; he’s so loving,” Brabant said.
“He was so scared, but he’s very sweet … which I wouldn’t be if I were in his condition.”
WAG is looking to raise funds to help Casey get his jaw repaired — a surgery Marshall estimated at about $5,000.
Those seeking to help out can donate via GoFundMe on the WAG website, wagsequimwa.com.
WAG officials said the Olympic Peninsula is experiencing what a large number of communities across the nation are reporting: animal shelters are close to, at or beyond capacity.
The nonprofit is at capacity with 24 rescues, Marshall said.
On top of that, the facility has has to schedule animals with three major surgeries in the first five weeks of 2024.
“Everybody’s in crisis mode,” she said.
Marshall theorized that residents decided to start breeding dogs during the COVID pandemic, and now households and shelters locally and across the nation are bursting at the seams,
“This is what’s happening with dogs on the Peninsula,” Brabant said.
“This is nationwide,” Brabant said. “But it is our responsibility to take care of the dogs in Clallam County.”
Other WAG dogs who recently had surgeries include Spirit, a 5-month-old dog with a broken pelvis and leg whose surgery cost $8,300, and Theodore, a 3-month-old puppy found in the forest with a rear leg broken in two places whose surgery cost $7,000 (he’s up for adoption now).
Those interested can donate to a combined GoFundMe for all three dogs at gofundme.com/f/theodore-had-a-broken-leg.
Brabant and Marshall said it’s heartbreaking that anyone would hurt or mistreat Casey or other animals.
“Who does this?” Brabant asked “Who shoots a perfectly good dog?”
“Just ask for help,” Marshall said.
Contact Welfare For Animals Guild at email@example.com or 360-460-6258.