Through it all, Jeffery never lost his kind spirit.
Pictures of Jeffery from two months ago are not pretty. The rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback mix was picked up by Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor, FL with severe burns covering his back. Vets don’t know for sure, but they suspect someone poured a boiling liquid over Jeffery’s shoulders, and the dog was left to suffer on his own. Despite his horrific injuries, tragic past, and low chance of recovery, this Florida rescue dog is an inspiration. He fought hard for his survival, and now he’s being celebrated as an honorary police K9.
Jeffery’s story starts long before he was found burned and in pain.
We’ll never know the details, but a patchwork of old scars and poorly healed injuries tells a story of abuse and neglect. Suncoast Animal League traveled hours to pick him up after he was found on the side of the road badly injured. Dr. Lee of BluePearl Pet Hospital set to work making him comfortable and trying to learn the extent of his wounds.
While it’s impossible to know for sure if a human is responsible for Jeffery’s pain, Dr. Lee suspects someone poured either a boiling liquid or a chemical over Jeffery’s back, and he suffered additional injuries and burns when he ran away. All of that was on top of several older cuts, scabs and lacerations. As heartbreaking as his burns were, it was worse knowing this wasn’t the first time Jeffery had been in pain. His life was likely full of pain and trauma, but rescuers hoped it wasn’t too late to help.
The first part of Jeffery’s recovery was surgery to remove burned skin. He was in excruciating pain, and Dr. Lee administered pain medications to keep him comfortable. While the burns themselves were bad, the vet’s biggest concern was a growing infection. The infected wound was on its way to causing systemic sepsis, and Jeffery needed around-the-clock care.
Click here to see a graphic photo of Jeffery’s recovery progress.
With the extreme pain and an obvious history of trauma, it would have been normal for Jeffery to be afraid of his human rescuers. Dr. Lee and her team expected the big dog to lash out in attempts to protect himself, or at the very least, they thought he would cower or growl. Humans failed him in the past, but somehow, this burned rescue dog was kind and trusting. He let his rescuers pet his head and the vets perform their exams.
Despite everything, he seemed to trust those humans with his life.
It took weeks for Jeffery’s injuries to heal. He needed regular bandage changes and took medications four times a day. He lived in a cone and wore clothing to protect his sensitive skin. Thanks to his foster mom, he spent his recovery in a caring home. The lovable dog met his best friend, a fellow rescue and burn survivor named Denali, and the two of them enjoy getting into mischief and doling out love.
Throughout the entire healing process, Jeffrey never wavered. The cone was uncomfortable and bandage changes were painful, but the big rescue dog gave out nothing but love and kisses. Suncoast Animal League posted about Jeffery on Facebook, and it wasn’t long until the inspirational dog became a local celebrity. Everywhere he went, Jeffery showcased kindness and forgiveness. He attended events and met with the community to spread awareness for the importance of animal rescue and adoption.
Now that Jeffery’s burns have turned to scars, he’s a happy and healthy rescue dog. He enjoys playing with his canine buddies and cuddling with humans. To celebrate his amazing spirit and recovery, Port Richey Police Department has made the rescue dog an honorary K9. The community recognized him during an official ceremony and collected supplies to donate to other rescue animals. Sergeant Alu swore him in, and Jeffery will continue to represent his community and inspire others to never give up on health or happiness.
According to Jeffery’s foster mom, he will be ready to be adopted in the next few weeks. He’s looking for a home with a fenced in yard and another dog to be his buddy. Contact the shelter to learn more about him!
Follow Suncoast Animal League on Facebook for more updates on Jeffery.