Bear’s story

Street feeders in Cleveland, Texas had spotted a dog with a huge mass on his face eating cat food that had been left out on a nearby resident’s porch. Drops of blood had been left behind on the porch, and ThisIsHouston stepped up to help and sent out an envoy of volunteers to find the dog.

The rescuers spent hours talking to neighbors and asking questions about the dog. It wasn’t long before pieces of the puzzle concerning the dog’s life came together.

We talked to a man who had multiple puppies of Bear’s from different litters. And we talked to a lady who fed him for years. She tried to get the mass looked at a while back, but then she had a heart attack and couldn’t focus on him. She told us the mass had appeared 1-2 years ago. She named him Bear, so we felt like he needed to keep the name he knew for 8-10 years.

Bear once had an owner, but that person just got tired of him and stopped caring for the dog. In Cleveland, Texas, that’s not an unusual occurrence, however it’s maddening to know that shooting dogs is another common way to get rid of them too. When rescuers spotted Bear, he ran away, and it wasn’t until he returned to the porch where he ate cat food most days, that the woman was able to slip a lead around his neck.

Bear was immediately hospitalized at Blue Pearl in Spring. He immediately was given a blood transfusion, and then the diagnostics began. When he was captured on Sunday, everyone’s immediate reaction to the bleeding mass on his face, was cancer. Plans were already being discussed with the oncologists for providing the best care that could be provided for Bear’s time left.

And so everyone was completely shocked on Tuesday. A CT scan was performed to assess the severity of the tumor, however the radiologist concluded that the mass was a necrotic abscess and the result of a recent bullet wound. Bear did not have cancer. The dog had been shot in the neck with an entry wound on the right side of his face. The bullet traveled through his neck and became lodged on the left side. An infection from the wound is likely what caused the mass.

It has been difficult to line up the information about Bear having had the tumor for one to two years, and it might have been that someone had shot the dog presumably to end his suffering, but failed.

…There are no abnormalities on his x-ray besides a lung nodule but that appears to be related to heart worm disease. His oncologist tried to aspirate the mass a few times but kept getting inflammation so we will be sending the mass off for testing to rule out cancer.

Bear underwent surgery. Everything went well and doctors were able to save his ear canal. The bullet, however remains on the left side of his face. It was surrounded in a block of soft tissue next to important muscles and nerves. It is not believed to be dangerous.

The mass weight 3.5 pounds – one can only imagine how relieved Bear must feel not having to tilt his head to accommodate carrying that huge weight around. Had Bear not been rescued, there is little doubt he would not have survived a few more days. His story becomes even more soul crushing to think that someone tried to shoot and kill him and made him suffer even more.

Bear’s future does seem more promising. He will remain at the emergency hospital for a few days and then go to foster care.

You can find a video here of how much Bear has improved!

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