Warning: Graphic images below.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A dog set on fire by a child in Mississippi back in April can see again.
This week, veterinarians at Mississippi State University removed all the bandages that had covered severe burns to Buddy’s face and eyes.
“Each new day is a celebration of light and life for Buddy,” said Sandy Williams, the director of the Tunica Humane Society.
Buddy was found in Tate County with an electrical cord wrapped around his neck and his face completely burned. A boy admitted to intentionally hurting the dog but was never charged because he was under the age of 12.
Since then, Buddy has been at the College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU, where he has undergone a number of skin grafts and several procedures to correct damage to his eyelids.
Williams said Buddy’s recovery had been nothing short of a miracle, and this was a big week for the pooch.
“Buddy’s whole personality has changed since seeing the light of day,” Williams said. “He is happy and playful and walking the halls of the hospital with a great big ball in his mouth. He loves balls. He carries them around so everyone can see.”
Williams said Buddy is doing so well he has been neutered and will begin heartworm treatments, but it could be a couple more months before the 3-year-old yellow lab is ready to be adopted.
“We may have him in a foster home situation while he goes through heartworm treatments,” Williams said.
Williams said Buddy will need more surgery on his eyelids down the road and will require special treatment for the rest of his life.
“His skin is going to be sensitive, his eyes will probably require eye drops, he’ll have to wear sunscreen when he’s outside,” Williams said. “He is not going to be a dog that can stay out in the sun hours at a time.”
Buddy’s journey has gained international attention. “Buddy Strong” T-shirts have been sold worldwide and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for his medical expenses.
“I think we sold around 9,000 T-shirts, and we’ve gotten pictures from as far away as Australia,” said Williams.
The Tunica Humane Society also rescued a 1-year-old Australian cattle dog with Buddy. They are hoping the two dogs can be adopted together.
Right now, though, their focus is on making Buddy as strong and healthy as possible for his future and forever family.
“I have to say thank you again to the thousands and thousands of people that have prayed for Buddy,” said Williams. “Our prayers are being answered every day.
You can report animal abuse or neglect to the Humane Society of the United States.