JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dog that was shot in the head continues to recover and is amazingly on the mend at a Jacksonville emergency animal clinic.
Neighbors found the pit bull with a bullet hole in his head as he was darting in and out of traffic near Julington Creek and Aladdin roads in Mandarin on Tuesday afternoon.
NOTE: This article and the video above contains images some might consider disturbing.
"A neighbor had posted there was a sighting of a dog running up and down Julington Creek Road that was in distress, that was disoriented, was running in and out of traffic, and appeared to have a hole in his head," said Stephanie Aiken, who ran to the rescue.
Eventually, Aiken and a few other good Samaritans caught him and brought him to Mandarin Pet Emergency.
"It took about two hours with the help other of a couple other neighbors," Aiken said.
She named him Forrest because the dog ran like Forrest Gump. Once she calmed him down, he was sweet and friendly.
"For someone to do that to an animal -- in any way, shape or form -- it's disgusting," Aiken said.
News4Jax got to meet the Forrest on Wednesday after he underwent emergency surgery for severe swelling on his brain, and had a drain placed in his head to help with drainage and relieve pressure.
Forrest was calm and sweet, and he's expected to make a full recovery.
GRAPHIC IMAGES: Dog recovering after being shot in head
"You're a good boy," Dr. Sue Summers, a veterinarian at Mandarin Pet Emergency, told Forrest.
Summers and her team have been treating Forrest since Aiken brought him to Mandarin Pet Emergency Tuesday evening.
"He is very lucky," Summers said. "He's got some bone missing on the top of the sinus."
Jacksonville police are investigating, but they don’t know who shot the pit bull or why.
Workers at Mandarin Pet Emergency said that Forrest is the second animal found shot in the same area in just three days.
Summers said Forrest's wound was fresh, so the dog was likely shot Tuesday. But she wasn't able to tell the type of gun used from the fragments left in his skull. The veterinarian said she believes the dog was deliberately shot from a distance.
An X-ray shows the bullet just missed his brain.
Summers said it was "real close" to being a fatal wound. When asked how many times she has seen a similar wound in her career, Summers said, "Ones that have gotten this lucky, this might be the first."
Aiken paid the $1,600 surgery bill, but long-term care will cost more. She's raised some money to help on GoFundMe.
As Forrest recovers, the good Samaritan is hoping to find him a happy, permanent home.
"He deserves it," Aiken said. "He's a sweet boy."
Forrest doesn’t seem to have any permanent brain damage and should be just fine. He’s neutered, house trained and very gentle.
Anyone who would like to donate to the dog's medical expenses can do so on the GoFundMe page. If you would like to adopt him, click the mail icon next to Aiken's name on the GoFundMe page and send her a message.