Many people spent Christmas morning either trying to sleep in or reveling in Christmas vibes and starting the party early. Gerald Ford of White Springs, Florida, spent his Christmas morning sitting in a waiting room and praying that his dog would live.
It was business as usual when Ford let his 14-month-old French bulldog, Neo, outside to use the bathroom the night before. Normally, Neo would mosey a bit on the 12 acre property, then come back when he was finished with business.
On Christmas Eve, Neo went out like he always did — but he didn’t come back until around 2 a.m.
Gerald told The Gainesville Sun that he realized his pup was back when he heard a thump outside and went to find a beaten and bruised Neo.
“I’ll never forget the look on his face,” Ford said. “It was like he was saying, ‘Help me.'”
The dog’s body was covered in nicks and wounds and he was bleeding heavily. While no one knows exactly what he got into it with, some guessed that Neo must have been attacked by a raccoon or another small dog.
It all proved too much for the poor bulldog, and his heart stopped.
Thankfully, Ford got Neo to the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where Dr. Bobbi Conner and at least six other veterinarians were ready to help.
They managed to stabilize the pup, but bringing him back was only half the battle.
Specializing in critical care and emergency medicine, even professor and veterinarian Conner was skeptical that Neo would be able to pop back to his usual self.
“Typically when an animal passes and comes back, they have to be on a mechanical ventilator, a breathing machine,” she told The Gainesville Sun, adding that resuscitated critters generally only have a 5 percent chance of living a fulfilling life afterwards.
Neo seemed to fall into that 5 percent.
While he survived his heart stopping, his front left leg was damaged badly enough that it had to be amputated — but Dr. Conner reassured Ford that that was no big deal for a young, lively dog.
“Dogs just adapt,” she explained. “If he goes to the dog park, no one’s going to make fun of him for having three limbs.”
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine posted on Thursday to share their perspective on the story.
“Miracles happen every day at our UF Veterinary Hospitals,” the post began, “but when our emergency & critical care team saved the life of a much-loved French bulldog, named Neo, who arrived at our ER on Christmas Day with attack injuries … it was an especially meaningful holiday gift to his owner (and to all who were involved in Neo’s care.).”
Ford is ecstatic to have his little buddy back, and will no doubt be a little more careful about unsupervised potty walks.
“He’s going to be fine. I’m the one that’s a wreck,” he said. “I got my miracle, my knucklehead back. Neo’s got a purpose, a journey. I wanted to do everything I could because he deserves a chance.”
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