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Success Stories

November 13, 2021

Shotgun Willie (now JAX)

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Written by: josh

We hear from Shotgun Willie’s now Jax’s parent.  It is a heart wrencher fair warning…

Dear Zach and Andy,
First let me apologize for not writing sooner about Shotgun Willie.
I can’t begin to thank you enough for “Willie” who is now Jax. When I visited in June, I had just lost my father and still in numb grief about it. I also had realized in June around election time that I missed having a dog and walking to vote. I knew that I was ready for another dog (after putting mine down in November 2011). However, the numbness of losing my dad didn’t compare. I needed to ‘take care” of an animal to assist with my grief and get me out of the bottom part of that well.
Needless to say, when I left Tehachapi that Saturday in June right before Father’s day with “Shotgun Willie”, I went to the Vet and pick up the assorted “freebies”. One item was a name tag and they pressed for a name. I couldn’t leave without one!! So, Jax it became.
Jax. What can I say. He has been a real social animal.. and even had prompted me to talk with my neighbors more frequently because of Jax’ need to walk. We have all even shared dinners!!!! He was initially shy, reserved and had (and still has) a huge distrust of men and “tools”
Within a couple of weeks of owning him, I began to get emails and phone calls from neighbors about him jumping my fence (which stands 5 ft). It didn’t make sense to me (as well as being close to 4th of July). So, the second week of July, Jax decided he had enough of loud noises, unfamiliar places and scaled a 7 foot fence.
It was in this jumping spree that he found himself on a main thoroughfare and was hit by a car.
I thought putting my Dog down, losing my Dad was enough.. and here the dog I had all  but 3 weeks is hit. I didn’t know whether he was dead or alive. I nearly lost my mind at that point. Another loss would have put me in an emotional place I didn’t want to be.(and the other thing I thought of was “OMG, Zach and Andy will be disappointed!!!)
I will tell you, this dog has Guardian Angels. Truly.
At least 10 people stopped traffic, got out of their cars, put him on the median and made sure that the dog was out of traffic until I came. They were just a few minutes from calling me when I arrived on scene.
I promptly took him to the Animal Hospital ER.  It didn’t look good to me. Spending a good 5 hours, xrays, labs and a host of other tests yielded information about the injuries. He had a severely dislocated right and left hip and fractured pelvis. The Vets also stated he needed to stay at least one night, if not more.
However, the information the xrays yielded was so much more telling, even as far as the name you gave him. Come to find out, “Shotgun Willie” had been shot. He has two bullets in him, approximately the size of a .22. So, it is rather ironic that you named him Shotgun Willie.. perhaps you knew?!!! (I anticipated you didn’t). Well, the bullets helped me figure out the reason for which he was running away… fireworks, loud noises, sharp sounds.. all lend itself to being shot at (at least twice.. who knows how many times the weapon missed him)
Needless to say, Jax  had recovered close to 99%. He, at the early point, wasn’t walking, running, had to be carried out to use the facilities. I would go home each day at lunch as do “physical therapy” with him. I would push him a bit more. The Vet recommended surgery.. which is a costly endeavor and one I cannot afford. So, for over 3 months, Jax and I worked on strength, mobility, agility and walking.
The Vet and his staff are still rather amazed at his success and recovery. I tell the Vet that Jax is a cat in a dog’s body!!!!
The time that Jax was recovering was a great bonding time. We got to know each other more. I also did more research on the Austrailian Shephard breed.
He has been such a joy for me.. as well as others. He is generally a lighthearted dog that LOVES my cats, LOVEs other dogs, LOVES being social and is rather a bright animal. He is protective of house and home. He isn’t very vocal, however, he is one of those dogs that when he has something to say, he will say it, no matter what time of day it it!!!!
One of the most special memories I have is from last week when he and 10 other dogs created a dust storm at the dog park from the running and their play. To see him run at full speed just a couple months after a potentially life threatening injury was an ultimate joy.
I am soooo grateful for him. I am also grateful for you and your Dad and the work you do. Without the two of you, Jax (aka SHotgun Willie) would have never entered my life. The joy that he brings is amazing and it is what I needed on so many levels.
Thank you sooo much for him and for what you both do!
I have included a picture taken just last night. Sappy, but loving and loved.
Denise Hurst
Long Beach, CA





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