By: Ashley Prest
Posted: 04/2/2015 8:04 PM | Last Modified: 04/2/2015 9:48 PM
Percy, the abused and rescued seven-month-old border collie/Jack Russell terrier cross, has captured the hearts of Manitobans who have donated enough money to pay for surgery that might save his eyes.
The spunky little black and white puppy has made headlines since he came into the care of the Manitoba Underdogs Rescue (MUR) in early February after his former owner’s child deliberately rubbed hair dye into his eyes, causing him to lose nearly all his vision.
Donations have reached $5,000 — the amount the rescue organization needs to pay for Percy’s surgery. He was diagnosed last month with corneal endothelial dystrophy, a disease which causes a thickening of the cornea and fluid build-up within the eyes. While his vision will never be fully restored, the surgery could save what little he still has in his right eye.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic. We’re completely overwhelmed. People’s generosity has been absolutely fantastic,” said MUR spokeswoman Lindsay Gillanders.
“Percy is very special dog. Everyone who meets him sees that he’s just so happy, so carefree, and he’s just a very kind, special little soul. It’s just been amazing that he was placed in our care and we have the responsibility of making sure he gets the best care possible and the donor support is the reason why we can do that. Without people stepping forward and making their generous contributions, Percy’s future would look a lot different, so we’re very, very, very grateful.”
Gillanders said Percy will be examined on April 11 by an ophthalmologist to determine the correct course of action for his well-being.
“He’s got the one eye that is a little bit better than the other one and they think they can do a procedure that would reduce the constant swelling in the eyes. The condition that he has means that his eyes are under a lot of pressure and fluid is constantly being trapped in the eye,” Gillanders said. Percy, she said, is not in pain because medication is temporarily controlling the fluid build-up.
“It is the same procedure done on both eyes. One is done with the hope they can save the eye and save the sight, the other one is done hoping that they can save the eye even though he won’t have any sight.”
The worst case scenario for Percy is the removal of both eyes.
Gillanders said despite his ordeal, Percy is a joyful little dog.
“Unfortunately, you can’t give a dog a sight test but we do know that he can see somewhat. He looks out the window and he barks at dogs that are across the street!” she said. “Because he’s a puppy, he’s absolutely fearless. He thinks he’s 80 pounds and really tough!”
Percy’s heart-wrenching story began in early February when an eight-year-old girl rubbed the hair dye into his eyes. He was left to suffer for three days with the dye burning his eyes.
A neighbour noticed the puppy, blinded and in agony, and called the local RCMP in the unidentified northern community when the owner refused to help the dog.
The RCMP apprehended the dog on Feb. 9 and, with the assistance of Perimeter Aviation, which flew him free of charge to Winnipeg, Percy was turned over to MUR.
Percy is living with a foster family that can manage his medical needs, including administering drops every six hours.
The RCMP are investigating what happened to Percy.
Manitoba Underdogs takes in about 110 neglected, stray or unwanted dogs every year, provides care and helps them find their forever homes.
Throughout April, MUR, The Dog Loft (245 Marion St.) and the Sunova Credit Union’s 11 branches have partnered to collect dog and puppy food for the rescue. Monetary donations will also be accepted.