Animal lovers turn out to help dog
By Cynthia Hooper
For the Salisbury Post
Oak Park Retirement Community went to the dogs on Saturday morning, literally.
Dollars for Damien, a dog walk and show organized to help pay the medical bills of an injured pit bull, drew a crowd.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes, even one with pink toenails, arrived with their owners to show Damien and his owner, Robbie Craver, their support.
Damien, a 12-year-old pit bull, was injured in March, when he fell from Craver’s pickup bed and was dragged on the road for some distance.
Crystal Lambert, who witnessed the accident and alerted Craver that he was dragging his dog, wanted to find a way to help Craver with the medical bills that Damien had incurred. Damien will require additional surgery and is checked every other day by veterinary staff for bandage changes.
More than $650 was raised and donations for Damien’s continued care are being accepted at the Salisbury Animal Hospital.
Lambert and her fiance, Brandon Parrish, who also witnessed the accident, decided to hold a benefit dog walk and show to raise money as well as awareness of the dangers of letting a pet ride in the back of a truck.
A co-worker of Lambert suggested she contact Oak Park, where her mother resides, as a possible location. When Lambert contacted Oak Park’s activities director, Karen Leonard, the wheels were set in motion, and within a short time the event plans fell into place.
Leonard said the staff and residents of Oak Park are interested in giving back to the community and were very pleased when residents were asked to judge the dog show.
Jessica McCaskill, Damien’s veterinarian at the Salisbury Animal Hospital, is very happy with his recovery thus far.
“Damien is doing great. It is going to be a long road to recovery, but he is making great strides. He is going to need one or two more surgeries to fully recover,” McCaskill said, “It was a very scary day when he first came in. Damien was actually clinically dead for a moment, but he came back and made it through anesthesia and two surgeries.
“I think Damien’s owner has done a great job of taking responsibility for this accident and he is committed to making this recovery happen.”
McCaskill thinks the fundraiser is a wonderful thing to do for a great dog,
“He has never offered to growl or bite or complain in any way, he is a really good patient,” she said.
Craver was thankful for the support, as well, especially from Lambert.
“I think she is an angel, a blessing. Everybody comes into different peoples lives for a reason. I am just thankful that she was there that day to stop me and get my attention.”
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While driving with a friend, Craver didn’t know that Damien had fallen from the truck.
“I had no idea because they always stay against the cab. That day, I guess I didn’t tie his leash right,” Craver said. “I’m just glad they got my attention.”
His friend drove to the animal hospital while Craver stayed in the truck bed giving CPR to Damien. Craver was even thrown from the truck once as his friend accelerated on the way to the hospital.
Craver’s dogs no longer ride in the back of his truck.
“Honestly, you can’t take enough precautions. I am beating myself up. It is totally my fault,” said Craver, who has had Damien since he was just over a month old. “I’m just glad he made it.”
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Thirty people and their pets came to the event.
Following the walk, dogs competed in several unconventional categories, including quickest kisser and best trick.
Oak Park resident and vice president of the Rowan County Humane Society, Betty Beaver, announced the winners.
Quickest kisser was Neara, a 4-year-old Shar-Pei. The dog is owned by Daphnie Rangel. Sara, a 9-month-old Sheltie, was the dog the most judges would have liked to take home with them. Sara’s owner, E.P. Ratledge, beamed with pride.
The big winner, Oak Park resident, Scruffy, a beagle/poodle mix, took first place in three of the five categories, including, best trick, oldest (9), as well as the dog who looks most like its owner. Clayton and Kathy Briggs of Oak Park are Scruffy’s owners.
Lambert, who was crowned Elite Miss North Carolina in November 2010, was glad to be able to do something to help.
“I felt like I needed to do it and it would have weighed heavy on my heart if I wouldn’t have,” she said.
Coincidentally, Lambert also owns a pit bull named Damian.