Not a single whimper or yelp came from Glenn Knight’s 10-month-old pit bull-boxer mix after it had been shot in the jaw and back and left to die.
It was Knight who couldn’t stop shedding tears, he said.
On Wednesday, Matlock, one of three dogs Knight treats like “my kids,” escaped from the fence in Knight’s yard in York.
“I went looking for him everywhere,” he said.
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When he pulled back into his driveway a little later, Knight found that Matlock made it back to the yard.
But as Matlock lay on its side, its back showed a gaping hole of exposed flesh where there should have been short brown fur. Its jaw had been hit by a bullet, and a piece of its tongue was missing.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Knight said.
“It amazes me that someone could shoot a dog like that and leave it.”
But to staff members at White Rose Veterinary Clinic in York, it was more amazing that Matlock was still alive when Knight desperately rushed the dog into the office as they were about to close.
“What I first saw was a poor little dog,” said Sylvia Chappell, doctor of veterinary medicine and owner of White Rose Veterinary Clinic. “I’ve never seen a gunshot (in an animal) like that.”
Chappell also saw a lot of muscle damage.
She was preparing to tell Knight that they would have to euthanize his dog when Matlock began to move.
It was enough to convince Chappell that Matlock could be saved.
The next hurdle was the $465 cost for Matlock’s surgery.
“I didn’t have the money to keep the dog alive,” Knight said. “I’ve been out of work. ... I just went back to work. I was going to have to put him down.”
Clinic staff members and Operation CARE (Carolina Animal Rescue Effort) stepped in, pooled their resources and agreed to cover Knight’s bill.
“They took money out of their own pockets to help me,” Knight said. “That was so fantastic; the way the economy is now, people don’t do that. People don’t take out the time to help you out any more.”
It’s not something the clinic will make common practice, staff members say, but Matlock was worth it.
Veterinarians dressed Matlock’s wounds Wednesday. On Thursday, they prepped Matlock for a two-hour surgery that would leave stitches on the jaw and back and a protective funnel to wear temporarily to let the wounds heal.
By Friday, Matlock “the miracle” was enjoying hugs and posing for pictures. But he’s not out of the woods yet.
Because the bullet blew out a part of his tongue and some of his teeth, Matlock is having trouble eating, which may cause difficulties during recovery, said Kathy Jackson, clinic practice manager. They’re also watching for infections.
Neither Chappell nor Jackson understands why someone would shoot Matlock.
During exams, “he was so gentle and wonderful,” Chappell said. “I could do his exams without sedating him.”
“If a dog is not aggressive or hurting someone, it’s disgusting to shoot a dog like that and leave it in the pain it’s in,” Jackson said.
Matlock is one of three boxer pit -bull mix pups born to a mother that was hit by a car.
Knight took in the small litter.
“He’s been a real good dog; he’s not aggressive,” Knight said. “I just can’t believe somebody would do that.”
Want to donate?
To donate to Matlock’s surgical bill, or any of the many animal rescues at the clinic, call (803) 818-5121 or find the clinic on Facebook.