A second chance for Otto
By James Peacemaker, Jr., Managing Editor
Feb 28, 2013, 12:22
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. Otto was found emaciated and injured last week.
Sometimes personality can go a long way.
In the case of Otto, a dog named after the bus driver from “The Simpsons,” it may have just saved his life.
When Prince George animal control officers found him, his ribs were visible through his skin and he was suffering from a severe hip injury.
With temperatures dipping below freezing in the past few weeks and Otto’s short fur and lack of body fat, Job Greene, animal services supervisor for Prince George, is surprised Otto is still alive.
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. Prince George animal services supervisor walks Otto into the lobby of the adoption center on Monday.
“Given how little fat was on him when we picked him up, I am surprised. He was emaciated. He was skeletal. ... You could see every little vertebrae bump,” he said.
Officers were alerted by residents who spotted him lying in front of an abandoned garage surrounded by old cars near Route 10 and Wards Creek Drive. When officers approached, he barked and fled inside. They went inside to find him waiting on an old seat from one of the cars. He was still a bit defensive, but officers managed to get a leash on him. He had no collar.
While he was nervous and snappy at first, Otto’s fear subsided and revealed a sweet demeanor after he was given food.
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. Otto’s hip was dislocated when he was found.
“He was so hungry, even as afraid as he was, we opened up a can of Beneful food and he ate that in like 2 seconds and didn’t even care that we were there anymore. It was just about the food,” Greene said.
Otto weighed only 19 pounds when he was found, when a healthy weight for a dog his size would be 30.
Veterinarians at Disputanta Animal Hospital who are treating Otto say he was likely hit by car a few weeks ago and his hip was dislocated. Otto was first seen by Dr. Heather Casey. An X-ray shows the leg bone several inches away from where it should be connected to his hip bone.
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. Office assistant Rachael Williamson pets Otto.
Dr. Kim Eaton said it began to heal this way, so merely putting it back in the socket is not an option. Surgery is required to remove the top part of the bone and put it back in the proper spot.
“He will never run in the Olympics, but it should make him more comfortable,” Eaton said.
Otto has already put on 5 pounds, but it will be some time before he is fully recovered. He has to put on more weight and overcome some digestion issues before he can get surgery to repair his injured hip.
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. Prince George Animal Services Supervisor Job Greene pets Otto. Greene said Otto is super sweet and is very adoptable.
Prince George has a limited budget for animal control so they are seeking donations to cover the $1,900 surgery and other expenses.
“We know people in Prince George care about situations like this and animals, and there is always support where we asked for donations before,” Greene said.
He said the steps to save Otto are a bit unusual. Often animals are euthanized for medical or behavioral issues, but since Otto is only about a year old and has a great personality, “we think he is very adoptable,” Greene said.
Greene said Otto is super sweet and affectionate and walks well on a leash despite a limp.
photo by James Peacemaker, Jr. An X-ray shows Otto’s left hip is out of socket by several inches.
Several people have already stepped forward to adopt Otto once he is cleared by a vet and neutered. Greene said there will be an application process as with any dog adopted from the animal shelter. But while only one person will be able to take Otto home, there are many other dogs and cats there that need homes too, he said.
Anyone interested in donating money to help cover Otto’s medical costs can call the Prince George animal shelter at 804-991-3200 ext. 2 or call Disputanta Animal Hospital at 804-991-3718. The animal shelter is located at 8391 County Drive, Disputanta.