Utie is a happy but severely challenged little guy whose fate was sealed on July 4 2007. I was on my way from my house in Mississippi to Raven Woods about 4 in the morning, driving on a rural highway in a pounding rainstorm. Suddenly 6 tiny puppies darted out from a driveway directly in front of me. I swerved and somehow managed to miss all of them. Then the seventh puppy ran out of the ditch on the opposite side of the road and I heard the sickening thud as I hit him.
I pulled over and ran back to where the little guy was sprawled in the road. As I tried to pick him up, his mother charged from the yard and drove me back. She stood guard over her fallen son with teeth bared.
I ran to the house where the puppies had come from and beat on the door. Finally a large and very angry man answered. I told him I had run over one of his puppies and asked would he please help me get the baby out of the road. He looked at the other puppies who were crowded around us, and then to the tragic scene of little Utie and his grief stricken mother. "Oh, THOSE puppies." he said. "Why don't you run over them all and save me the trouble of drowning them?" I told him I was with an animal shelter and I would gladly take all the puppies if he would just help me get them into my car. "Take that bitch, too." he said. "All she does is drop puppies in my yard." I wondered if he was too dumb to understand the meaning of spay.
He tossed a rope over the mother and dragged her away from Utie. I picked the little guy up and was amazed to find he was still breathing. I laid him on the seat of my van and quickly loaded the other puppies into a crate in the back. When I looked around, I saw to my horror that the man was holding the mother dog in the air by the rope and she was hanging limp. "Gotta choke her down so she can't bite," he said. I took her in my arms and laid her in the crate with her babies, then returned to little Utie. There was not a mark on him but he was deeply unconscious.
Holding little Utie in my lap, I hurried on to the shelter where Amite LA vet Glen Hutchinson met us at his office. It was obvious that Utie had a severe closed head injury. He remained unconscious and began having continuous seizures.
We rushed him to the emergency clinic in Mandeville, LA where he was treated in the ICU. Several days later I took Utie home, still unconscious but stable. We had no idea if he would recover any function, but we were determined to give him a chance. He was able to swallow, and I fed puppy formula to him with a syringe. Over the next 10 days, Utie began to wake up, but was unable to move his legs. I gave him baths in a warm tub every day, gently moving his stiff little legs in the warm water. Amazingly, over the next few weeks he regained the ability to walk and began eating normally.
Today Utie and his mother live at the shelter and although Utie is not likely to be adopted, he is a happy little guy. He never progressed beyond a puppy mentally, he is visually impaired, and he continually walks in circles. But he always is wagging his tail and he is gentle and affectionate. All of his litter mates were adopted. John says that Utie gave his own life for his litter mates, so they would have a chance to find loving homes. Little Utie is one of the reasons Raven Woods exists. Dogs like Utie deserve a chance to live, too. We wish every dog we have could be adopted into a home of their own, but as a sanctuary we provide a place for those not adoptable for whatever reason to live out their lives. Utie is precious to us, like he is to his Creator, and he deserves the best we can give him.