Six-year-old Dogue de Bordeauxpit bull cross Notch turns his head and wags his tail, eyes soulful, keeping a grip on the bright yellow squeaky toy in his mouth even as he sniffs the hand of a new human friend.
Notch came to the Cowichan branch of the SPCA at the beginning of April. Most of his wounds have now healed, but there’s still an orange wrap on his leg and fading scars dotting his head and body.
"It’s been a long, long, long haul with this dog," said Sandi Trent, Cowichan SPCA branch manager, as she holds onto Notch’s leash, though the big docile pup makes not attempt to stray, appearing to just enjoy the July sunshine.
The emergency page-out that brought Notch to the shelter found the stray dog with "horrible injuries", likely from other dogs attacking him, said Trent.
"He was ripped apart. Poor guy – he was in really rough shape. His head was three times its usual size," she says. "He has no teeth so he can’t defend himself. He just hunkered down on somebody’s doorstep, badly injured." He had numerous lacerations and injuries, and he had to have surgery to remove an egg-sized rock from his stomach.
Getting Notch on the road to recovery didn’t come cheap. Medical costs are estimated at $2,000
for the pooch and the branch needs help to pay them and is hoping Cowichan residents will open their hearts and wallets.
They do have a medical budget, explained Trent, and in the winter when things are generally slower at the shelter they might have been able to swing the payment, which represents the entire medical budget for about a month and a half, but in summer, especially in the case of an emergency surgery like Notch needed, the cost puts a real strain on the organization. They are also trying to care for other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens that multiply fast and furious through the spring and summer.
The goal is to get Notch well enough to be adopted out. He’s already proven to be a favourite with children coming by the shelter.
"To know him is to love him," Trent said.
If you can help Notch and other animals in need at the Cowichan District SPCA, you can donate online at spca.bc.ca/medicalemergency or in person at 7550 Bell McKinnon Rd., Duncan.