MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) – Officials say a lost dog discovered in the snow suffering from two gunshots survived.
Humans haven’t been able to stand just a few minutes being outside on these frigid nights. So when you hear the additional pains this dog endured, it’s surprising to hear he’s alive.
Quiet and curious – those two words best describe 4-year-old Gusto.
Unfortunately, those two traits might be the reason he nearly lost his life.
“I didn’t think he’d make it through the night to tell you the truth. It was so cold,” said owner Jeff Hickey.
He had just let Gusto out to use the bathroom, but his curiosity got the best of him.
“He went out browsing around, so we kind of waited thinking it’s cold, he’s going to come back, he’s hungry. He didn’t come back,” he said.
For the next several hours, Hickey hiked along the Indiana countryside searching.
“I was out until 3 a.m. in the morning Sunday night looking for him and when I ran out of tracks and didn’t see him on the road, or any tracks leading back to the woods, I thought for sure somebody’s hit him,” said Hickey.
The next morning a call came in to Animal Rescue Foundation.
“She was very tearful, very upset, said that there was a large dog found down in her front yard,” said ARF founder Terri Panszi.
Gusto didn’t bark or howl, instead he just curled up on the snow by a tree, exactly where ARF employee Mike Barrett found him.
“He just laid there and was pretty much motionless,” said Barrett.
Moving wasn’t easy for Gusto. He had been shot twice. Once in his leg, another bullet hit his hip.
Indiana law allows people to shoot an animal if they feel it threatens their property or livestock.
“Shoot up in the air, scare him, have him run, and if you do shoot, shoot once not twice. I mean if you’re shooting twice you’re thinking about putting him down,” said Hickey.
But this dog had his day, not only surviving a frigid night, but bullets.
“This could have been such a tragedy and it’s the happiest ending possible,” said Panszi.
“When we can save an animal from a situation like this and get them back to an animal’s owner rightful owner, at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about,” Barrett.
Gusto was taken to an animal hospital to get treated.
Owner Jeff Hickey went to ARF on a whim the next morning, not knowing they had found Gusto. He was excited to say the least.
ARF wants this to also serve as a lesson
They say owners should always have a tag on their dog and also microchip them, two methods that would have helped ARF reach out to Hickey after finding him.