A Fresno dog survived what some animal rescue service workers described as one of the most evil acts of animal cruelty.
Roxy, a brown-and-white pit bull mix, was stabbed 17 times all over her body during an attack on July 23 in Fresno, according to the Fresno Humane Animal Services.
Miraculously, Roxy not only survived but brought life into the world.
Within two weeks of the gruesome attack, Roxy pushed through a hard labor to give birth to a litter of puppies.
Some believe it was the dog’s pit bull fighter mentality that helped her overcome the pain. Others think it was a mother’s love to do anything for her babies.
What is certain is: A dog found covered in her own blood had refused to die.
“Considering all that she’s been through, it’s a miracle that she’s alive,” said Evon Dumesnil, an animal rescue volunteer. “This dog is amazing. She is so loving. She’s just resilient.”
The evil attack
Who does that to a dog?
Fresno Police did not return messages seeking information on the attack.
However, workers at the Fresno Humane Animal Services confirmed that police were investigating the incident.
Why torture a dog? Why try to kill someone’s pet, if not your own animal?
Some rescue service workers stopped asking such questions long ago.
They’ve seen too many cases of animal cruelty and too much heartbreaking detail.
They realize their focus is not to understand why bad things are done to animals but to figure out how to rescue them.
Helping an animal get through a traumatic incident often requires a collective effort from people who are generous with their time and/or money.
In Roxy’s case, she’d been stabbed so many times that she couldn’t pick up her neck.
“I don’t have all the details of what happened,” Dumesnil said. “But what I do know is that this was an evil act done by a monster.”
Roxy had knife wounds to her face, neck, shoulder, leg, ear and abdomen.
“She was in really bad shape,” said Brenda Mitchell, board president of Fresno Humane Animal Services. “We see cases of animal cruelty. Usually that means an animal has been badly neglected. This one, this case was not normal.”
Pet doctors expressed concerns that the physical trauma, coupled with all of the mental stress of the attack, would cause a failed pregnancy.
South County Tail Waggers, a rescue group based in Gilroy that specializes in helping with some of the most difficult cases of animal cruelty, received permission from Fresno Humane Animal Services to transport Roxy to the Bay Area for additional care.
“Typically when a rescue (organization) sees a dog in that type of case, and also being a pit bull mix, they’ll shy away from helping,” said Marguerite Murphy, founder of South County Tail Waggers. “And here’s one where the dog has gone through horrific abuse.
“The stab wounds were all over her body; it looked very deliberate. And the fact that she was pregnant, we had to try to help save this dog.”
An emergency C-section
It was 13 days from the time Roxy got stabbed to the moment she went into labor.
Rescue workers with South County Tail Waggers had prepared for the possibility of the dog giving birth at a volunteer’s home.
But when Roxy started having contractions and babies were not coming out, volunteers rushed to the animal emergency hospital at 1 in the morning for help.
As Dumesnil sped to the nearest pet ER located approximately 40 miles away, fellow volunteer and retired veterinarian technician Sandra Peart sat close to Roxy to comfort and monitor her.
Peart also was prepared for the possibility of delivering babies from the back seat.
“She wasn’t looking good and you knew she was in a lot of pain,” Dumesnil said of Roxy. “We just kept telling Roxy, ‘Hang in there. We’ll be there, soon. You’ve made it this far, you can get through this, too.’
“But we were all really afraid for her and for her puppies.”
Roxy ended up having an emergency cesarean section.
But not before giving birth naturally to two babies.
Roxy’s first puppy survived.
The second puppy did not make it.
“They got one baby out barely just in time,” Dumesnil said. “The second baby, though, was completely stuck. That little one was a boy and died.
“Then they had to do an emergency C-section and delivered five more babies.”
In all, Roxy gave birth to seven puppies, including five boys and one girl who survived.
None are considered premature, though there is one who’s on the smaller side and needs extra attention.
“It was a very dangerous pregnancy, a very hard labor, and she was still trying to heal from being stabbed all over and losing a lot of blood,” Murphy said. “But six of seven puppies made it. She made it. She’s a survivor.”
Recovery and hope
Roxy, who is between 5 to 7 years old, still can’t move much.
Veterinarians believe she has a long road to recovery from the stab wounds, C-section surgery and general fatigue from pregnancy.
But for the moment, what Roxy can do — and does well — is take care of her babies.
Feeding them, licking them, lying next to them.
“She’s so sweet and so loving, especially to her babies,” Dumesnil said. “I really do wonder why someone would do something so horrendous to her.
“Every day you spend time with Roxy, it’s easy to fall more and more in love with her.”
An online fundraiser was set up to help cover the medical expenses for Roxy and her puppies.
At some point, Roxy and the puppies will be put up for adoption.
The hope is to find loving homes for each dog.
Especially for Roxy.
“In this world with everything that’s going on, you see incredible evil,” Dumesnil said. “But the fact that a dog survived a violent and vicious attack, then bring innocent lives into the world, it gives hope that happy endings still can happen.
“Evil doesn’t always prevail.”