To say that pit bulls are tough dogs is an understatement.
Consider the plight of Hercules. He was discovered by a pair of canine rescue volunteers in Gardena on May 3. Seriously beatdown and stumbling across lanes like a drunk after last call, he had a broken neck.
The good Samaritans took Hercules to Jennifer Rosen, founder of Bullies and Buddies, the South Bay's pit bull rescue organization.
Rosen believes the dog had been "brutally" beaten and then thrown into traffic that day. "He was immediately rushed to an animal emergency center" for X-rays, IVs and critical care, Rosen said.
Hercules, about 2 years old and weighing 59 pounds, ended up in the hands of Dr. Stephen M. Hanson, a neurosurgeon at the Veterinary Neurology Center in Tustin.
During a 90-minute surgery on May 8, vets inserted six stainless steel pins into Hercules' neck and used cement to hold it all together, Hanson said.
Recovery will take six weeks, he said. "He's just a cool, friendly dog," Hanson said.
"This sort of injury happens when there's a sudden bending down of the head," the doctor said. "He may have been hit by a car."
The $6,700 surgery bill was covered by Bullies and Buddies through a loan from a supporter, Hanson said. The emergency care costs were more than $3,300.
An anonymous Los Angeles-area donor who steps in during animal medical crises helped front some of the emergency funds to save the dog's life. Rosen is hoping to recoup those costs, about $10,000, through a crowdfunding campaign, here.
"I knew this wasn't going to be cheap," Rosen said, "so I had to reach out to a donor at 10 at night" to get a loan to cover Hercules' bills.
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The bright side is that the dog is going to be up for adoption. Rosen said the right family, one prepared to help him recover, could even take him now, with all his medical costs covered.
Hercules is tough like his breed demands, but his happy heart and constant tail-wagging seem to have carried him through.
"The doctors said his chances were slim," Rosen said. "Well, here he is. This dog is a true miracle. A village came together to get him what he needed."