Earlier this year, a young wheaten terrier was living his life in Arizona with his family. One of the well-known dangers of the area (besides snakes and heat) is cacti.
Somehow, the pup managed to get a cactus needle embedded in his foot, and it ended up nearly killing him.
“I stepped on a cactus needle and for whatever reason, it was not adequately cared for and became infected,” a post on the pup’s Instagram reads. “I developed a blood clot and unfortunately my leg cannot be saved.”
The owners, faced with a hefty vet bill of over $12,000 and extensive care for the injured dog, had two choices if they couldn’t foot the bill themselves: surrender him in the hopes that a group who could pay for the needed medical attention would select him, or have him humanely euthanized.
They chose to surrender their pup, and thankfully Wheatens In Need rescue came to his aid.
“I was dangerously close to being euthanized today when WIN stepped in and assumed responsibility for my medical bills,” the Instagram post continued. “My leg was amputated tonight and when I’m well enough to be discharged from the clinic I will go to a foster home to continue recuperating.”
That was three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, a woman named Arlene Heck was contacted by WIN and agreed to foster the pup.
“His leg developed an infection, a blood clot and required amputation to save his life,” Heck told KSAZ-TV.
“And it chokes me up,” she continued, recalling being asked to take him in. “I said, ‘We gotta try to save his life because he was going to be euthanized and if the rescue hadn’t stepped up to cover his medical bills, he was going to be euthanized.”
While Tigger was doing poorly while battling infection and recovering from his amputation, he’s now back to his energetic, playful self — though he’s still adjusting.
“If he wants to run, he can run,” Heck said. “It’s amazing how quickly he runs, you know. He will try to jump and when he comes down, he will kinda fall towards his stump.”
“Our focus right now is to get him fully recovered and healthy so that he can have his forever home wherever that ends up being.’
One wheaten terrier expert in the area recommends that dogs wear booties if they go into the desert and says they should walk on the pavement when possible. Needles, stickers and other foreign objects can quickly turn deadly if they go unnoticed in a dog’s foot, and they can be very hard to spot.
For now, Tigger’s life is no longer on the line and he is in good hands while he waits for his forever family.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.