MACCLENNY, Fla. – A dog left for dead has made a miraculous recovery.
After the likely pit bull-mix was hit by a car and then clung to life, lying in a ditch for days before being rescued, a caring community and vet in Baker County gave the dog a new life.
The exact age of the dog, named Ditch, is unknown, but he's probably between 2 and 5 years old. He had no collar or microchip when he was found. But he is a fighter.
"People called and he was reported as a dead dog in a ditch," Dr. Michal Harris, owner of Sixth Street Veterinary Hospital, told News4Jax on Tuesday. "They were calling and asking the police or animal control to dispose of the body."
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But he wasn't dead. In September, Ditch was hit by a car and badly injured. Veterinarians believe he managed to keep himself alive for five days in a ditch, which he was named after. A receptionist at Sixth Street Veterinary Hospital heard about the dog and brought him to Harris.
"He was really dehydrated and really emaciated and had this wound on him, and the wound had a bunch of maggots in it," Harris said.
Ditch had a hole in his hip, exposing bone and muscle.
"He had areas of bone from his pelvis missing," Harris said. "His spinal column was badly shattered."
Harris didn't give up hope and rushed Ditch straight to the operating room.
"He looked up at me and there was just something in his eyes," he said. "I just felt like, if he's going to fight that hard -- this dog was abandoned and nobody cared for him -- we owe it to him to stand by this dog and help him."
It took seven surgeries and $10,000 worth of care. Throughout the process, things got worse. An infected bone caused Ditch to be paralyzed and he could barely walk. But they didn't give up.
"So many members of the community really embraced him, came to visit him, came to encourage him," Harris said.
The community even raised about $3,000 for his treatment. Months later after more procedures and rehab, Ditch is back on his feet. What's left are a few scars and a wagging tail.
"He is a complete ham and he is a complete diva," Harris said. "He pretty much thinks everybody should be here to see him and entertain him."
Ditch just has two more months left of heartworm treatment and will be headed to the Fur Sisters rescue to find a forever home.