The adventure of a dog in distress

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

On June 23, Bettie Cashion, member of the Pearl River County SPCA, received an email that potentially saved a dog’s life.

Cashion has worked with the PRC SPCA for 17 years and actively help animals find a home.

“No matter how much fun you are having doing what you love to do, at some point you have to give it up because of age. However, I seem to always hop back into helping the animal shelter and their animals because it is just what I am used to doing my whole life,” Cashion said.

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When she received that email, it told the story of a dog found around her grandson’s property that appeared to have been involved in underground dog fights, Cashion said.

Immediately after receiving the email, Cashion contacted the PRC SPCA and Animal Advocates of Pearl River County to spread the word.

“Nothing is just local when helping animals,” Cashion said. “Everything is so wide ranging because with just a click of the mouse, you can spread the word and find more resources to help out.”

Initially, Cashion’s grandson thought the dog was a Boxer, but with the help of the PRC SPCA, they later identified the dog as either a mastiff or a bullmastiff. Not long after identifying the dog, the animal shelter and Animal Advocates of Pearl River County spread the news of this dog through their social media accounts. They also named the dog “Hobo.”

Within a day of social media exposure, Lauren Fitts, president of the Animal Advocates, was able to contact Virginia Rowland, a rescue coordinator with the American Bullmastiff Association in Massachusetts, who offered to help by coordinating a possible transport chain to Massachusetts to get Hobo everything he needed to become healthy. However, a couple of days later, Fitts received an offer from Kari Bryant, a previous foster who now lives around Vicksburg, to give Hobo a foster home until fully recovered and could be adopted. Immediately after Bryant received Hobo, they visited the vet.

Dr. Rachel Potter, a local veterinarian, told Bryant exactly what condition Hobo was in.

“He has a bad hook and whip worm infestation. He is blind in his right eye due to a puncture injury. Multiple scabs and scars and three old broken bones. He has heartworms—thankfully not a heavy load yet. He has an ear and gum infection. Tests for tick borne infections all came back negative. We expect him to make a full recovery, but he will probably always walk stiffly and we can’t save the eye,” Potter said in an email to Cashion.

Hobo is believed to be around 3-6 years old and currently on medication and heartworm treatments.

Although Bryant has fostered and passed on many dogs to find their forever homes, she is becoming “really attached” to Hobo. She even changed his name from “Hobo” to “Bart.”

“He is following me around every step I make. He has a cute little bounce when he is excited. He hops up and down, raising both front paws at the same time. It is adorable. He was even playing with a squeaky toy earlier,” Bryant said in an email to Cashion.

Throughout the beginning stages of Bart’s recovery, many donations were given across the country including a fluffy bed, heartworm treatment and 50 cans of expensive dog food.

From a troubled “Hobo” to a healthy “Bart,” many people from around the nation came together to make sure he found the path to happiness.