This Guy Tried To Rescue A Beaver, Got A Surprise
When Broken Arrow, Oklahoma resident Jim Passmore went for a walk with his dogs one March morning, he stumbled upon a scene that would change his life. He was walking his dogs along Haikey Creek, in search of peace and quiet, and he found something very different.
Out For a Walk
Passmore and the dogs were walking down a nature trail when he noticed something odd in the creek. He got closer, but it was still hard to determine what exactly he was looking at. It was something large, and hairy, and stuck. An animal had become trapped in the mud at the creek’s bank and was struggling to free itself, although weakly. Passmore thought it was a beaver, but it was something much more surprising.
Just A Walk Like Any Other Day
Jim thought that he’d be going on his standard walk, that he regularly took with his dogs. He usually spent about half an hour walking along the creek. He threw on a jacket, grabbed the dogs, and headed out. He loaded the excited dogs into his car and headed towards Haikey Creek, one of their favorite spots to walk.
They Arrived At the Creek
After a ten minute drive, Passmore was able to let the dogs out of the car. He leashed them and started off towards the Haikey Creek trailhead. He anticipated a quiet walk through the Oklahoma wilderness. The trail was typically not very heavily trodden. His relaxing walk was about to become markedly less relaxed.
A Stuck Animal
As he approached the water, he noticed something struggling in the mud. When he got closer, he saw that it was a fairly large animal. Its brown fur was drenched in mud. It struggled weakly against the mud, waging what appeared to be a losing battle against drowning. At first, Passmore thought it was a beaver. Most people don’t have much empathy for beavers, which tend to be considered pest animals. Thankfully, Passmore leapt into action and got a surprise.
Was It a Beaver?
Beavers are commonly found in many parts of North America, including Oklahoma. Their presence is usually betrayed by some easily observed signs, like felled trees and beaver dams. None of these indicators were visible in the area. Indeed, it was not a beaver stuck in the mud.
As Passmore and his dogs got closer to the animal, the dogs were restless but, interestingly, weren’t barking. Jim approached the animal very slowly, in order not to startle it. It wasn’t a beaver. It was a dog. A dog that was very stuck in the mud, and looked like it had been there for a very long time. He called a rescue team to help him, as well as a police officer.
The Rescue Begins
The dog was barely responsive. Someone from the rescue team draped a blanket over it, in order to keep it warm and also to get a better grip on its very heavy body. The dog was too large and too stuck to lift out of the water by hand. A solution was arrived upon.
They Made a Rope Harness
The rescue team fastened ropes around the dog’s body in order to haul it out of the water. Someone later noticed that the dog was significantly overweight, which contributed to it getting so stuck in the first place. They also speculated that the dog may have been struck by a car on a nearby road, and wound up falling into the creek.
A Dicey Maneuver
Freeing the dog from the mud was a surprisingly difficult affair. It took a great deal of planning, preparation and (carefully executed) brute strength to free it without hurting it. Nobody yet knew what the dog’s condition was, if it was wounded or just exhausted.
With the rope secured, the rescue team was able to finally haul the dog out of the water and onto dry land. The animal was visibly upset, shivering, and frightened of its rescuers. Thankfully, the dog’s demeanor would change.
As could be expected, the dog was in some dire medical straits. The animal had been trapped in the cold water for an unknown period of time. It was wet, miserable, and alarmingly close to death. The rescuers dried it off and tried to keep it warm until it could get veterinary attention.
Signs of Life
The dog was in poor condition but was at least responsive. The rescuers attempted to comfort it, not knowing whether it would actually survive the ordeal. Thankfully, things would start looking up for the dog, who they came to know as Teddy.
Teddy was an eight-year-old male. It remains a mystery how he wound up in his predicament. As described before, the most likely scenario is that he was hit by a car and then wound up stuck in the creek.
Teddy was in too poor of shape to walk. It had to be loaded into a wheelbarrow and rushed back to a car, to be taken to a vet. Nobody yet knew if the dog was going to make it. Everyone was very concerned for their new friend.
Teddy got very lucky on two counts. One, he was rescued from the creek in time to save his life. Two, the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals intervened to prevent him from being taken to the Broken Arrow Shelter, where he would likely have been euthanized.
Teddy received veterinary care that stabilized his condition. During the rescue, a panicked Teddy had actually bitten one of the people working to free him from the creek. There was some concern that Teddy might have rabies. Thankfully, it was a false alarm.
Teddy Adjusts To His New Home
It took a couple days for Teddy to acclimate to his pen at the OAA. He remained in an alarmed state for quite some time. Eventually, he warmed up to the workers. They administered pain medication that also helped him come back to a state of ease.
Teddy’s Got Problems
Teddy’s obesity continued to pose mobility challenges for him. He had difficulty moving around, compounded by injuries. Nobody came to claim the dog, so it looked like Teddy would be staying at the OAA for some time.
Social Media Rescue
The OAA posted photos of Teddy and his story to their Facebook page. Many people cooed over him, and many people said they’d be interested in meeting or even adopting him when the time was right. They had to wait until a state mandated quarantine period had run its course.
One Very Lucky Dog
Had events not lined up perfectly for Teddy, he probably would have died. Had he not been rescue, he probably would have been killed by exposure. Had the OAA not stepped in, he probably would have been taken to a shelter and euthanized. About 60% of dogs that enter Oklahoma animal shelters are euthanized.
Shelters are a Mixed Bag
In the United States, about six million animals are processed annually. Of those, about three million are dogs. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of strays processed at these shelters, and low adoption rates, drive many shelters to euthanize animals after they’ve stayed a certain amount of time. About 700,000 dogs are euthanized every year.
Teddy Was In Good Hands
The OAA took Teddy to the vet multiple times. Obviously, he received emergency attention after being rescued. He also enjoyed follow-up visits to address his issues with lethargy and immobility. In addition to pain medication, he was also given anti-inflammatories. Thankfully, he was found to have no broken bones.
Shelters Often Use Social Media
It is now common for animal shelters to advertise their residents on social media, in order to garner interest and find good homes. It’s a cheap way for shelters, which often are strapped for funding, to promote themselves and the animals they care for. The OAA took the same tack with Teddy, who became a bit of a furry celebrity.
Things Started Looking Up
As Teddy’s story went slightly viral, his condition improved as well. He went from being a sluggish, unfriendly dog to being playful and affectionate, especially toward the receptionist, named Jessie. However, despite the flurry of attention, there weren’t any adoption offers on the table.
It’s Fun To Stay at the OAA
The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals is a good place to be if you’re a stray dog. They actively campaign to reduce the number of animals euthanized every year. They also give cheap spaying and neutering procedures to the public. If Teddy was going to be in a shelter for a long time, he could do much worse than the OAA.
Teddy Is a Senior Dog
Adoption prospects for older dogs in shelters are slimmer than younger dogs, and certainly slimmer than puppies. Teddy is a senior citizen. Despite the obvious drawbacks to adopting an older dog, there are some benefits. For one, you know that they’re not going to get bigger, and their behavior isn’t going to change. Senior dogs are typically less likely to bite and can be more docile and affectionate.
Don’t Let Your Dog Get Fat
Teddy’s veterinarian chalked up his inability to gracefully move around, and general lack of activity, to his weight, not the rescue ordeal. Overweight dogs are prone to joint, ligament and bone problems, as well as internal organ dysfunction, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Where Is Teddy Now?
Teddy’s fate is actually unknown. Most likely, he was adopted by someone who saw him on Facebook, or read about his story online. It’s hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t claim him. A dog this lucky couldn’t possibly spend much time in a shelter.