Lifestyle & Human Interest

UPS Driver Helps Save Dog Left Out in Bitter Cold That Reportedly Chewed Off Own Leg To Survive


UPS drivers are often in the right places at the right times to function as a sort of neighborhood watch. Some frequent the same routes enough that they know when something’s amiss or spot scenes that require immediate attention.

A UPS driver spotted one of those scenes on Nov. 14 in Exeter, New York.

According to the Associated Press, the driver called the cops after seeing a German shepherd outdoors in the frigid weather with only a plastic pet carrier and a frozen bowl of water.

That wasn’t the worst of it, though: The driver also said the dog’s front left leg looked like it “had been blown off.”

Graphic photos posted by the Susquehanna SPCA, which took in the 9-year-old dog, show the stump of a leg with splintered bone sticking out of a very swollen shoulder.

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After veterinarian Joan Puritz examined the dog, she found fragments of bone in the dog’s stomach, suggesting that she had chewed off her own leg.

“The dog was very emaciated,” Dr. Joan Puritz told the AP. “She may not have been getting enough nutrition. The leg was probably injured and she was trying to take care of it herself.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this. It breaks your heart. She’s such a sweet dog.”

The dog, named Zoe, was immediately cared for and found to be suffering from various other ailments including a mass on her shoulder, a heart murmur and anemia, according to a post by the SPCA.

“Her fight to survive has just begun because her missing leg is only one of many concerning medical ailments she is facing,” the SPCA shared. “The team mentioned above is going to do everything we can to ease Zoe’s pain and show her compassion and a more peaceful life that she deserves.”

“This is Zoe, she was found last week missing her left limb,” New York State Police shared on Tuesday. “Veterinarians in Otsego County believe she chewed off her own arm, she was found with no food and water, living outside in a plastic pet crate with hay inside.”

“Her owner, Carl K. Pritchard, age 59 of Exeter was arrested and charged with Agriculture and Markets Law Agriculture and Markets Law overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance (misdemeanor) and failure to provide appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors (violation).”

On Tuesday, the SPCA shared that Zoe was at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and would be undergoing surgery.

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“Her age, heart murmur and anemia are all very serious issues to be managed during a risky procedure,” they posted. “The risk is increased because removing the mass will involve navigating arteries.”

As of Thursday, the report on Zoe’s status was positive.

“We are patiently waiting on communication from Cornell with a detailed medical update but overall they say she is doing really well and expect that we can pick her up tomorrow,” the SPCA posted. “We will share more information and pictures as soon as we have access. Thank you again and stay tuned!”

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