Several teenagers riding in a truck on the dusty trails near Old Buckman Road on Sunday discovered a mostly blind and deaf dog bleeding in the wilderness.
Cole Bodelson, 16, a sophomore at St. Michael’s High School, was the first to see the dog, curled into the ground as if she were going to die. He knew injured dogs could be aggressive, but he and his friends decided to approach anyway.
Bodelson said when they got closer, they realized one of the dog’s paws was nearly severed. He said she “smelled of death,” but they managed to get her in the back of the truck and transported her to an emergency veterinary clinic.
“She didn’t move at all,” Bodelson said. “I was afraid she was going die along the way.”
The dog lived, however, thanks to the efforts of Bodelson and his friends, all 16: Avery Diercks, Ryan Lee, Tristan Gress and Will Gibbs.
“They’re great kids,” said Ben Swan, spokesman for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, where the dog eventually was taken for treatment. “They just wanted to help the dog.”
After an examination, shelter staff determined the 25-pound black dog, whom they named Lily, had the scars of old gunshot wounds and even some bullet fragments lodged in her body, although the cause of her recent injury was unclear. Lily is the most recent victim of a spate of animal-related violence in Santa Fe County since late January.
First, three dogs were found shot in the La Cienega area. One lived and received medical attention at the animal shelter, but the other two were found dead. Then in mid-February, the sheriff’s office reported that someone ran down a dog in Lamy. Shortly after that incident, two dogs attacked and killed eight alpacas in La Puebla. The livestock’s owner shot one dog, but county deputies are still looking for the other. The dogs’ owner has been cited in connection with the alpacas’ deaths.
And finally, the sheriff’s office received word recently that a woman had found two dead pit bulls tied to a tree off N.M. 41; the dogs appeared to have been shot. Capt. Adan Mendoza of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were able to talk to the dogs’ owners, but no citations or other legal actions had been taken as of Thursday.
Lily was examined by Jennifer Steketee, the animal shelter’s medical director, who said her right front paw was infected with a deep wound that encircled the paw. Steketee wasn’t sure what had caused the injury. She said Lily could have gotten herself caught on some wire, or the wound could have been the result of some other type of cut. Lily also was dehyrated, she said, adding that the dog seemed to be blind and likely had hearing loss.
Steketee decided to amputate the dog’s leg, she said, because the foot was already lost and she knew the dog wouldn’t be able to make use of a stump.
X-rays later revealed that Lily had pellet and bullet fragments lodged in her body, indicating she had been shot in the past, Mendoza said, adding that the bullet fragments and wounds appeared to be older. He said there was little information available about the case, since the investigation was in its beginning stages.
Swan said Lily was recovering Thursday afternoon at the shelter’s clinic. He also said she wasn’t affected by the bullet wounds, although two bullets were surgically removed.
Bodelson said he would like to adopt the dog.
“You share a kind of a bond with a animal you save,” he said. “We found her for some reason.”
Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.