Rescued Dog 'Buddy' Transforms After Being On Fire By Boy In Mississippi

Rescued Dog 'Buddy' Transforms After Being On Fire By Boy In Mississippi

Buddy was a friendly stray dog who lived on the streets in Mississippi. At least, until the day a 12-year-old boy strangled the lab mix with an extension cord and proceeded to set him on fire.

Thankfully, somebody found the wounded dog and rushed him to the animal hospital, where he received emergency care. This included multiple skin grafts made from North Atlantic cod skin to soothe and repair Buddy’s badly burned face.

But Buddy didn't hold a grudge against his young attacker, or humans in general. Buddy's doctors at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University and shelter workers at Tunica Humane Society described Buddy as gentle and loving with everyone he meets.

"He's a loving, forgiving dog," shelter director Sandy Williams told the Clarion-Ledger. "I don't know how he's come through this and kept his tender heart, but he has. He's going to make somebody an exceptional dog."

But not everyone was as forgiving as Buddy, especially after learning the dog’s 12-year-old attacker wouldn't be punished under Mississippi law. This injustice fueled a petition called Justice for Buddy. At time of writing, the petition had been signed by more than 200,000 people.

"There must be consequences for anyone who does this to a helpless animal,” the petition reads in part, noting that allowing such a heinous act to go unpunished will only embolden Buddy’s young attacker to commit future violence.

But despite his painful burns, which required skin grafts, hospitalization, and months of rehabilitation, Buddy showed an incredible will to survive.

It would be another 7 months before Buddy was healthy enough for adoption. “Buddy’s heroic journey of healing is now closing in and he is ready to start a new chapter in his life,” the Tunica Humane Society wrote in a Facebook post titled “Buddy’s Journey Back to Life.”

“From the very first post on Buddy, we were flooded with inquiries and applications for this precious lab,” shelter workers wrote, explaining their commitment to finding Buddy the perfect home.

But while Buddy made incredible progress, the former stray needs to be adopted by someone who can provide special attention and care. “Buddy will continue to heal from the horrific injuries to his face for months to come,” shelter workers wrote, noting burn wounds are always “the slowest to heal.”

“He will be a work in progress for some time and his new family needs to understand that,” they wrote. “At the end of the day, we just want Buddy to be a happy, healthy normal dog in a home where he will be protected and cherished for the remainder of his life.”

For now, Buddy is living in foster care, where the former stray has learned to walk on a leash, practice basic commands, and loves playing fetch and going on walks and car rides. Buddy is also completing heartworm treatment, which is a common affliction among Southern pets.

The dog's foster family also helps Buddy maintain his fragile skin grafts and change his bandages. In addition to seeking a family without young kids or other pets, the shelter hopes to place Buddy in an adoptive home relatively near Dr. Swanson and the other MSU vets who managed Buddy's recovery.

“Buddy is a dog of a lifetime,” shelter workers noted. “He deserves a Happy Ending after the horror he endured these past months.”

J. Swanson

J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.

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